Private Beta of Longhorn Server Focused on Fundamentals

Microsoft put out a private beta of Windows Longhorn Server at the same time as the Windows Vista Beta 1 release. But don't worry if you're not among the 5,000 hardware and software industry insiders graced with the server code. You're not missing much yet.

The planned delivery date for the follow on to Windows Server 2003, still code-named "Longhorn," remains far off in 2007. Although Microsoft delivered the betas for Windows Vista client and the Longhorn Server at the same time, the company still plans to release the server six to 12 months later than Windows Vista. Microsoft's plan is to ship Vista in time for holiday 2006 purchases.

Microsoft officials declined to provide any details about which planned features for Windows Longhorn Server are included in the beta. Instead they say the focus is on providing the core OS fundamentals and the complete APIs. The release was synched with Vista because Longhorn Server and Windows Vista share fundamental code.

"This release is intended for hardware manufacturers, OEMs, IHVs, system builders, ISVs and developers, so they can start becoming familiar with the software and think about their product planning," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

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Microsoft public design goals for Longhorn Server include a rock-solid server foundation that is more secure, manageable, responsive, interoperable and compatible than current versions; a platform for rapid delivery of smart and connected applications; and agility for increased operational efficiency and IT effectiveness. Microsoft also plans policy-based networking, branch management improvements beyond what Microsoft already plans to deliver in Windows Server 2003 R2; and end-user collaboration improvements.

Specific features currently planned for the commercial release of Longhorn Server fall in several buckets. Microsoft plans to streamline server management and make the management process more task-oriented through centralized and filtered event logging, image-based setup and deployment, and make the Web application platform more manageable. To increase the robustness of the infrastructure, Microsoft plans Network Access Protection, reduced reboots, a smaller server footprint, and a transactional file system and registry. In the area of enhancing end-user productivity, Microsoft is enhancing Terminal Server management and usability and will go beyond current Windows SharePoint Services to make collaboration more sophisticated. One other planned feature is to try to raise the adoption of Windows Rights Management by making the technologies easier to deploy across organizational boundaries.

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The first chance for IT departments to kick Longhorn Server's tires will come with the next beta. "We do not have a date to share at this time but can tell you that the next beta will be a public beta at which point Microsoft will encourage customers to begin evaluating and providing feedback on the product," the spokesperson said.

About the Author

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


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