Update: This post is wrong. Read this post instead: Scratch that. Windows Server 2008 R2 still lives.
Microsoft's Windows Server division has veered from its regular schedule to eliminate -- at least in name -- the minor "R2" update of Windows Server 2008 that was slated to arrive in the next year or two. The result: The next version of Windows Server that Microsoft will ship will be named "Windows 7 Server."
Just last week, I asked Microsoft about the seeming discrepancies (2009 vs. 2010) in its promised Windows Server 2008 R2 dates. At that time, company officials refused to comment. I didn't think much of their silence, at the time, since Microsoft was busily prepping WS 2008 R2 sessions for its Tech Ed Barcelona conference in November of this year.
But this week, Microsoft officials decided to speak. And the official word is that WS 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Server are one in the same. The next release of Windows Server is Windows 7 Server and it is due, according to the new timetable, in 2010.
(I have to admit, when I first saw the headline, via blogger Steven Bink, that WS 2008 R2 was Windows 7 -- without the word "Server" attached, I just dismissed the report. The original report on Microsoft's R2 plans, to which Bink linked, from Martijn Brant, an IT Pro based in the Netherlands, also didn't make the client/server distinction clear, leading me to discount it when I first read it.)
But late in the day on August 15, Microsoft sent me a note of clarification. Here's is the only official comment I have so far, from a company spokeswoman:
"The company is still not yet disclosing specific release date/timing for this, but it does list 2010 as the timeframe on the roadmap page on Microsoft.com, which Ward notes in his comment. This of course is in keeping with the 2yr (minor)/4 yr (major) schedule for Server OS releases, as R2 is a minor release post Windows Server 2008."
The change in plans leaves me with lots of questions, to none of which I'm expecting answers. (But I'm asking anyway.) My short list:
- When and why did Microsoft cancel WS 2008 R2? Or is it simply renaming WS2008 R2 in order to make it clearer that Windows 7 Server and Windows 7 client are meant to be "better together"?
- Has the Windows Server team decided against releasing any and all future R2 releases?
- Are Windows client and Windows Server teams moving away from their previously stated "major-minor" delivery pattern (with a major release of Windows followed every two years by a minor one)? And if so, why?
- Is Microsoft expecting Windows 7 Server to ship at the same time as Windows 7 client? If so, does that mean that Windows 7 Server is, in fact, likely to ship in late 2009, as Windows 7 client seems to be?
What's your take? Any other questions or concerns about Microsoft's decision to dump/skip/rename Windows Server 2008 R2?