WinHEC 2003: Blackcomb to be Phased in Over Time

In his WinHEC keynote address Wednesday morning, Microsoft Corporate Vice President David Thompson revealed that the company's Blackcomb project will not be delivered as a major server upgrade as previously expected, but will instead be phased in over several years, beginning with technology that Microsoft will release this year as "out of band" upgrades to Windows Server 2003.

This news confirms that Blackcomb is effectively the next "Cairo," a project that began life in the mid-1990's as a major revision to Microsoft's enterprise server line, but ended up quite differently, its various components scattered to other teams and projects at the company. Cairo technology was rolled into the Windows 95 shell, Active Directory, and the WinFS file system that will debut in Longhorn, the Windows client version that will debut in 2005.

"Blackcomb will not be released in 3-4 years [as a single product]," Thompson said. "Instead, we will be rolling out additions to [Windows Server 2003] in a steady stream [over time]." In 2003 alone, Thompson noted, Microsoft will release a number of out-of-band upgrades to Windows Server 2003, many of which he said were part of the Blackcomb project. These technologies include the iSCSI initiator in June, NAS 3.0 in Q2 2003, Automated Deployment Services (ADS) in Q3 2003, Small Business Server 2003 in Q3 2003, Virtual Server in Q4 2003, and the AMD/64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, while will be delivered "in Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 by the end of 2003," Thompson said.

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