Both are important milestones, particularly with Vista, since most business customers wait for the release of a first service pack before they consider upgrading to a new operating system.
"Enterprise customers that I'm involved with have applications old enough to vote, and it's been five years since XP, so XP is very entrenched," said Bernie Klinder, an analyst at Blue Chip Consulting Group LLC in Broadview Heights, Ohio. "This will make migrations even harder, though Microsoft has made an effort to make application compatibility less of a problem."
The main attraction for Windows Server 2008 will be the Hyper-V virtualization component, which won't be available until later this year. The server also includes the Network Access Protection feature, which is required to work with the NAP features in Vista.
Vista SP1 will be available in March, starting with Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. Windows Server 2008 will be available for purchase on March 1. Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance will be able to download the server software toward the end of February, Microsoft said.