Microsoft's launch of Windows Server 2008, which is now set for February of next year along with new versions of SQL Server and Visual Studio, is already being billed as the most important enterprise launch in the company's history.
It is also likely to be the last hurrah for Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, who will be stepping away from his day-to-day role at Microsoft in July.
The company said this week that it will launch its 2008 versions of Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio on February 27 in Los Angeles. The launch will not have any impact on development schedules however.
Some of the products might not be available on that date. Windows Server 2008 is still on track to RTM at the end of the year. Some experts continue to believe that it will be challenging for the company to hit its mark.
"[Microsoft] has made really significant changes to Windows Server 2008 after beta 3," said Nelson Ruest, a principal at Resolutions Enterprises, a consulting firm in Victoria, B.C.
Microsoft recently added Internet Information Services 7.0 to its server core. There have been other significant changes to infrastructure components as well.
The fact that Gates is leaving in July will be an important turning point for IT managers, but it's unlikely he will be around for the release of the server virtualization components, due out six months after Windows Server 2008 launches.