Microsoft Outlines Windows Server Roadmap

Following on from Jim Allchin's Keynote last week at WinHEC 2004 Microsoft held a Windows Server 2003 1st anniversary party here in London today. The event covered some key partners describing their experiences with Windows Server 2003 and included the data research firm DRS who are currently managing voting forms for the London Elections with Windows Server 2003. Several MVPs also attended and were on hand to answer and questions related to Windows Server.

Samm DiStasio donned the stage to talk about the Windows Server Roadmap. Samms main points for the next 18 months of Windows Server were service packs & feature packs of Windows Server being combined into OS "updates". The idea is that Microsoft will release an update every 2 years after an initial major release which refreshes the Operating System with add-ons, security fixes and new features. The next planned update is for Windows Server 2003 which is due to be released in 2005 and currently code-named R2. As 2004 stands we should be expecting Virtual Server 2005, Server Performance Advisor and Windows Update Services to be released by the end of the year along with Windows Server 2003 64 bit, Windows Server 2003 SP1 & SBS 2003 SP1.

Windows Server 2003 SP1 will include reliability & security enhancements and an increased performance of 10% on TPC. TPC-H, SAP & SSL. SP1 will include XP SP2 enhancements like RPC & DCOM lockdown and will include a boot-time network protection for clean installs. This means clean installs will be protected out of the box by Windows Firewall but the Windows Firewall will turn itself off by default after the install has finished. SP1 also includes a VPN client inspection that can ensure clients are secure and up to date before being able to access vital networks running Windows Server 2003. The same enhancements will be included in Small Business Server 2003 SP1.

Windows Server 2003 Update - Codename "R2" will be built upon Windows Server 2003 SP1. R2 will include update packs like Windows Update Services & Server Performance Advisor and will be covered by the same application compatibility, servicing & support lifecycle as Windows Server 2003. This also means that servers covered by Software Assurance at the time of Windows Server 2003 release will receive Windows Server 2003 Update.

Windows Server Codename Longhorn Beta 1 was also mentioned briefly but without any promised features or release schedule. Judging by the announcement that Microsoft are moving to a 4 year release schedule for Windows Server then that would place Windows Server Longhorn in 2007 (4 years from Server 2003). This also fits in with the fact Microsoft also announced plans to release an "Update" every 2 years from OS Launch. Previously, Microsoft worked on a 3 year release schedule with Windows NT and Windows 2000. This news means we'll be seeing Windows Client Longhorn in 2006 and Windows Server Longhorn in 2007 if Microsoft want to stick to the announced plans. This also affects Blackcomb which now officially falls back to 2011 after Longhorn gets its update in 2009. Some crazy figures but ones that Microsoft are evidently working to.

Screenshot: Windows Server Roadmap

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