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Windows Server 8 should be full of surprises

Microsoft has been ramping up the hype machine, looking to promote Windows 8 (server and client) as the next operating systems of choice for both the desktop and the enterprise.

Facts about both systems should become available on Sept.15, when various NDAs are lifted, with analysts, the press and others that will convey Microsoft’s messaging to the general public.

So far, Microsoft has said Windows Server 8 has 100 or so new features, but what proves to be most interesting is the integration and evolution of Hyper-V, which sports a new feature called Hyper-V Replica. Microsoft has said that new feature provides “asynchronous, application-consistent virtual machine replication.” At a recent Windows 8’s partial unveiling, Microsoft demonstrated a mission-critical SQL VM being replicated from a private cloud to the offsite data center with a few clicks.

Microsoft also showed Hyper-V supporting 16 virtual processors per VM, four times as many as are supported currently, and Microsoft didn’t say that 16 was the limit. Microsoft has made bold promises about huge scalability that would support a private cloud strategy by IT. Other details are slowly filtering out via Windows chief Steven Sinofsky’s Building Windows 8 blog, where one of the first posts says, “Windows 8 reimagines Windows.”

So what’s next? Microsoft is hosting its press reviewers’ workshop Sept. 8-10 and its BUILD event on Sept. 13-16, so more details are sure to be forthcoming. Rumor has it that Microsoft will lift the veil of secrecy and set the hype machine to max power.

That’s the good news, but everyone is still itching to know when we will see an actual release. One Microsoft VP, Dani Lewin, hinted at an autumn 2012 release, whereas others have reported a potential April 2012 release. Judging from Microsoft’s track record for past release dates, it’s still anyone’s guess at this point.

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