Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 0 Ready for Customer Review

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 24, 2007 – Microsoft has reached another milestone with the initial Release Candidate (RC0) of the highly anticipated Windows Server 2008 operating system, now available for download. Now customers and partners can download and test-drive the latest development version of Windows Server 2008 for themselves.

Packed with new features, Windows Server 2008 provides customers with the most versatile and reliable Windows platform yet. Technological advancements, such as server and presentation virtualization capabilities, Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0, Server Core, PowerShell, Network Access Protection, Server Manager, and enhanced networking and clustering technologies provide customers with a security-enhanced, easy-to-manage platform. All of these feature improvements provide customers with the most integrated Windows solution to date. For example, IIS 7.0, Microsoft’s platform for developing and reliably hosting Web applications and services, is experiencing strong customer momentum, with more than 13 hosting companies offering IIS 7.0 and more than 1,200 customers who have deployed it via the GoLive license.

Built using an unprecedented level of customer feedback, the advancements in Windows Server 2008 are indicative of Microsoft’s commitment to give customers the tools and applications they want and need in today’s environment. The rigorous design process has incorporated input from thousands of third-party partners and customers, to achieve the Release Candidate status for Windows Server 2008.

“Our operations at Windrush [Frozen Foods] are up and running 24 hours a day, so it is critical for us to have a stable technology infrastructure,” says Robbie Roberts, IT manager at Windrush Frozen Foods, a UK-based purveyor of frozen, chilled and ambient foods. “With Windows Server 2008 we are looking forward to taking advantage of clustering and data recovery features to help us provide consistent, uninterrupted services to our customers.”

Since early in the development process, Microsoft’s customers have said that they want to use virtualization tools to streamline their IT operations and save money. Now, for the first time, customers can start using a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Windows Server virtualization technology (codename “Viridian”), available with Windows Server 2008 RC0. Windows Server 2008 includes a thin (under a megabyte), hypervisor-based software virtualization layer that runs between the hardware and the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Windows Server virtualization provides customers with greater flexibility to provision multiple applications and services to servers and blades, while achieving greater application performance than offered by traditional virtual machine environments.

IT organizations of all sizes will appreciate the scalability of Windows Server virtualization, including multi-processor guests, large memory allocation (more than 32 gigabytes per machine) and integrated virtual switch support that enables IT organizations to virtualize most workloads. The 64-bit, micro-kernelized hypervisor architecture of Windows Server 2008 supports a broad array of devices, both 32- and 64-bit and multi-processor guests, and a variety of storage solutions including iSCSI and fibre channel SAN. Windows Server virtualization offers standards-based WMI interfaces and published APIs for management – complete integration with the Windows Server management UI to meet customers’ existing skills.

The RC0 milestone is an important step on the path to final delivery for Windows Server 2008. It signifies that engineering, development and beta testing are making significant advancements and that the server code is entering the final phases of testing as well. And that has people at Microsoft, their partners and early adopter customers energized.

“As we continue to talk with customers and partners about Windows Server 2008, one thing is clear – everyone is eager to roll up their sleeves and take a good hard look at Windows Server 2008 RC0, including the Windows Server virtualization CTP,” says Bill Laing, general manager of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft. “We are excited to share this first broadly released preview of our hypervisor technology with the community.”

Windows Server 2008 RC0 is a great opportunity for customers to continue evaluating Windows Server 2008 and to take a first look at the Windows Server virtualization CTP. Through their testing and ongoing feedback, Microsoft will be in a better position to deliver a final product that customers can both use and grow from. By engaging in the test process, customers and partners are in a better position to determine how they can take advantage of the new and enhanced features to help improve their IT infrastructure.

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