Microsoft: Yukon Delay Won't Impact Longhorn

The official line out of Microsoft is that delays in the SQL Server roadmap will not affect delivery of the "Longhorn" version of Windows.

Since Microsoft's disclosure on Wednesday that SQL Server 2005, formerly known by the code-name "Yukon," would not be released until 2005 instead of late 2004 as previously planned, speculation has been rampant that the delay would throw a monkey wrench into the development cycle for the Windows "Longhorn" operating system. Longhorn is the release that follows Windows XP.

Longhorn also contains a storage technology, called Windows Future Storage, or WinFS, that is shared technology with the Yukon database.

Officially the operating system is loosely planned for a 2005 release, but most industry observers expect it in 2006 at the earliest. In light of the latest news, the conventional wisdom is pushing the Longhorn release out to 2007.

But Tom Rizzo, director of SQL Server product management for Microsoft, flatly asserts that, although Longhorn shares technology with Yukon, the Yukon delay doesn't equal a delay for Longhorn. "There's no butterfly effect," Rizzo says.

"A lot of those shared technologies are pretty much baked and done. It's shared technology, but it's not full-featured SQL Server. Yukon has a lot more than that," Rizzo says.

WinFS appears to be the deepest technology link between Microsoft's two large product waves on the horizon. The Yukon wave will include SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and some of Microsoft's secondary servers. A subsequent Longhorn wave is expected to include a client operating system, a server operating system, a new version of Office and a new version of Visual Studio, among other things.

At the Professional Developers Conference in October, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates described WinFS as "the idea of taking XML flexibility, database technology, getting it into the file system." (See story).

Using WinFS, users are supposed to be able to dynamically change views of the data stored on their systems and more easily move data between devices.

Microsoft has long taken heat for not providing customers with specific roadmaps that include product release dates and then sticking to them. But by keeping away from a formal commitment to a delivery date for Longhorn, Microsoft is free to honestly say that the Yukon delay isn't impacting the Longhorn release date whether it's delaying the project or not.

At the same time, in recent weeks, Microsoft officials have discussed possible interim releases or updates of both Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 -- releases that could relieve any pressure to deliver Longhorn in the next two years.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.