SEATTLE: Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) released its next-generation Windows Server ”Longhorn” software for public testing on Wednesday and said the product is on track for a debut in the second half of 2007.
The world’s largest software maker said it expects hundreds of thousands of information technology workers to download the test, or ”Beta 3,” version of the next server operating system code-named Longhorn.
Longhorn, which will replace the current Windows Server 2003, is the server operating system equivalent of Microsoft’s new Windows Vista PC operating system with an emphasis on many of the same features such as better security.
The download is available at www.microsoft.com/getbeta3.
Windows controlled about two-thirds of the global server software market in 2006, according to market share data from Gartner Dataquest.
Longhorn beta 3 code will be posted by Microsoft on a special web page. It’s the first time anyone who’s interested can test the product first hand, which has been in private beta release only until now.
On 25 April for the first time, users can get a look at a new scripting and command-line technology, Microsoft PowerShell, at work from within Longhorn server, he said. The technology, which allows administrators to more easily automate tasks across Windows servers on a network, previously was available as a separate add-on, but will be built directly into Longhorn and is making its first appearance in a test version of the product.
Customers also can get a first look in beta 3 at two new Longhorn features -- a new always-on firewall in Server Manager and an installation option called Server Core, Ralston said.
Server Manager in Longhorn is designed to keep the server firewall up 100% of the time. This would result in the server administrator unlocking the firewall with the server manager console each time they want to install components. This allows administrators to install components needed for certain server roles, leaving anything extraneous out of the system, Ralston said. The server also will intelligently know what dependencies and restraints the roles will have once installed, and will configure the server automatically to run most effectively in those scenarios, he added.
The amount of code that needs to run on the server is also restricted to a bare minimum, and will also decrease the number of and time allotted for updates because the server will only need to be rebooted for updates related only to those roles, Ralston said.
Longhorn is due for final release sometime in the second half of the year, a time frame that, in typical Microsoft fashion, was revised several times.
In fact, Ralston said Wednesday the Longhorn team is ‘proud’ to have gotten beta 3 out on time; its release was scheduled for the first half of 2007, which means it was due by the end of June and according to Microsoft’s schedule is actually out the door early. The company is well known not only for pushing back software release deadlines, but also for meeting them at the last minute.