A Window on TechEd

Doug's on a mini-hiatus from Redmond Report today, but he'll be back for Friday's edition. Kurt Mackie, fresh from Tech-Ed, is filling in for him. Let's get started:

Tech-Ed in Los Angeles continues this week, and I was fortunate to spend a day and a half there. The crush of attendees (more than 7,000, we were told) was somewhat thinned out this year due to the plunging economy, industry layoffs and restructuring. Even Microsoft has felt the pinch, having cut a few thousand employees just last week. The swine flu obsession didn't help attendance (though people risked more by just driving the freeways and surface streets to get there). Microsoft has even focused on the flu from a technical perspective, touting its efforts to help with the epidemiological tracking of this real-world bug

But the big news at Tech-Ed was the announcement by Bill Veghte, senior vice president of Windows business, that Windows 7 will ship this year over the holidays. You could tell that Veghte was pretty confident about the schedule details for Windows and other Microsoft products announced at the show, which you can read about here. For many months, Microsoft has been tight-lipped about publicly disclosing its Windows release plans. However, Microsoft's caution didn't stop its OEM PC-building partners, who've dropped hints for months about a fall shipment date.

Windows Server 2008 R2 shares the same timeline as Windows 7, and is also slated for release in the fall. The two OSes essentially share the same code base, so the news now tends to be conjoined.

Iain McDonald, general manager of Windows Server Group, told the crowd in Monday's keynote that Tech-Ed "is a kind of coming-out party for Windows Server 2008 R2." Hyper-V, part of Windows Server 2008, now supports more than 64 logical processors, we were told. McDonald also announced a "processor compatibility mode" in Windows Server 2008 R2 that will allow IT shops to leverage different CPUs of the same make. Lastly, a file classification infrastructure feature added to the server promises a more effective enterprise search capability.

CTPs Coming for 'Kilimanjaro' and 'Madison'
Tech-Ed also brought a bit of news on the database server front. "Kilimanjaro," the code name for the next version of Microsoft's SQL Server, is now called "SQL Server 2008 R2."

A community technology preview (CTP) of SQL Server 2008 R2 will be scheduled for year's end, according to announcements at Tech-Ed (though some testers reportedly got a peek at the management tools for Kilimanjaro back in January).

Microsoft is continuing to position SQL Server as a key element of its BI stack, as well as building out its master data management play, with the upcoming release.

Microsoft also explained in a blog that project "Madison," which is Microsoft's data warehouse effort using DATAllegro's technology, will be available as a CTP release in the second half of this year. A story by veteran Microsoft watcher and Redmond magazine contributor Mary-Jo Foley had pegged Madison's release for "early July," per the blog, which doesn't state that date now.

Microsoft Office 2010 and Groove News
Another bombshell was dropped at Tech-Ed: the availability of a technical preview of Microsoft Office 2010 in early to mid-July. Tech-Ed attendees have already got the bits, but others will have to sign up, as explained here.

Microsoft is being a bit finicky about who gets to review Office 2010. The company will screen out some in order to test specific market segments.

OneNote 2010 will be part of the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 release, according to a Microsoft announcement. The company also indicated what will happen with the Microsoft Groove document collaboration app: It will now become "SharePoint Workspace 2010" and will also be available as part of this Office 2010 release.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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