Microsoft has started printing up the invites for the launch of Windows Server 2008 as it finally sets loose release candidate 1 of the long-awaited server operating system.
Microsoft's decision to put a red ring around 27 February came as it released another test version of Vista Service Pack 1, the update it is banking on to breathe some life into the so-far zombified desktop operating system.
Developers and other interested geeks can now download Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 1 to poke about with. So far, the firm says, 1.8 million customers have downloaded evaluation code for the server OS. The vendor is striving to tick what it believes are all the right boxes for business, emphasising features such as virtualisation, rights management, failover clustering, and deployment services.
The vendor has picked a slightly mystifying theme for the launch: "Heroes Happen Here". Presumably, this is something to do with the popular TV programme featuring "ordinary people who wake up one day with extraordinary powers". Ah, now we get it, people will be able to wake up after installing Windows Server with extraordinary powers such as, rights management and virtualisation. Extraordinary indeed.
Still, it's probably a good idea Microsoft latches onto a popular TV show. It means it can downplay the OS's connection with Windows Vista.
As the download page for Server 2008 delicately puts it: "Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 originally began as part of a single development project, and as such they share a number of new technologies across networking, storage, security and management."
Of course, development cycles slipped, and Vista came out long before the server OS. Still, Microsoft promises that: "When organisations deploy both operating systems, they will see how the combined client-server infrastructure provides even greater advantages."
In the real world though, Vista has gone down like a brick with business, with few willing to even think about getting to grips with the OS until Service Pack 1 hits the market, sometime around the launch of the server OS.
So it's no surprise that yesterday's Server RC1 coincided with Release Candidate 1 of the Vista Service Pack. Initially, this will be available to Microsoft Connect, with general release next week. ®