The company hit the final development milestone for Windows Server 2003 R2 on Monday when it said the software has now reached the release candidate stage.
This interim release of Windows Server, is something of a midway point between the current release with Service Pack 1, and Longhorn Server, which is not due out until sometime in 2007. Microsoft appears to be on track to deliver R2 by the end of 2005.
R2 will include some new intelligent storage management features as well as numerous directory improvements, including Active Directory Application Mode, Active Directory Federation Services and Identity Integration Feature Pack.
There are improvements to branch server management, as well, including centralized backup and management of remote file-and-print services in R2. R2 will also offer some Unix interoperability components, which will be integrated with the operating system.