Microsoft Product Roadmap Overhauled in Orlando

Microsoft's Tech-Ed conference is traditionally a time for the company to reveal new details about its product roadmap, and the 15th-anniversary event last month in Orlando, Fla. was true to form. Updates announced at the show included the names for the next versions of SQL Server and Visual Studio and new details about the next releases of Windows Server and the Forefront security-product line.

The new edition of SQL Server, code-named "Katmai," will officially be called SQL Server 2008. Likewise, "Orcas" becomes Visual Studio 2008. Both follow the naming convention Microsoft settled on earlier in the year in branding "Longhorn" as Windows Server 2008.

A community technology preview (CTP) was immediately available at the show for SQL Server 2008. Developers should look for a beta 2 release of Visual Studio 2008 sometime later in the summer, Microsoft officials told attendees. Bob Muglia, Microsoft's senior vice president for servers and tools, said during his Tech-Ed keynote that Windows Server 2008 would ship "late this year."

Microsoft used Tech-Ed to reveal the decision to combine two of Windows Server 2008's most anticipated features-the Server Core and Internet Information Services 7 (IIS7). The Server Core is a minimal installation version of Windows Server 2008 that improves performance and security by installing only the components and services that directly support the intended role of the server.

"What we've done with Server Core ... is we built a really minimal installation of Windows Server, [which allows] you to run roles such as Active Directory, file serving, DHCP [and] DNS," Muglia said. "I'm glad to announce today that we've added IIS to the list of roles that can be run in Server Core."

Partners interested in IIS7 -- for instance, hosting providers -- can get licenses to go live with the beta code under a program called the Go-Live License for IIS7.

Redmond's Updated Release Schedule
  • CTP available for SQL Server 2008
  • Go-Live License for IIS7
  • Forefront Server Security Management Console beta 2
  • New components for Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance
  • Visual Studio 2008 beta 2
  • Virtual Machine Manager
  • Q3: BizTalk Server 2006 R2
  • Limited beta of Forefront code-name "Stirling"
  • Windows Server 2008
  • MID-2008: "Viridian"-Windows hypervisor-based virtualization technology

Other release updates included:

  • A limited beta release of Stirling, the next generation in the Forefront security line, is planned for late 2007.
  • "Viridian," the Windows hypervisor that runs between the hardware and Windows Server 2008 and allows multiple operating systems to run on a server, is on track to ship about six months after Windows Server 2008.
  • BizTalk Server 2006 R2 is set for Q3 release.

About the Author

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