Who can get the final Windows Server 2008 R2 bits and when?

Windows Server 2008 R2 users are going to have to wait a week longer than their client counterparts for the final bits (if they want them before October 22, that is). In one case, however -- via the retail channel -- Server users be able to get them well before Windows 7 users can.

Microsoft released to manufacturing Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 on the same day, at the same time and are planning joint consumer and businesses launches.

But server users are going to have to wait a week longer than their client counterparts for the final bits (if they want them before October 22, that is).  In one case, however -- via the retail channel -- Server users be able to get them well before Windows 7 users can. (I'd guess the staggered dates are designed to avoid server meltdowns at Microsoft, but maybe there are other reasons....)

On the Windows Server blog, Microsoft officials published on July 22 the timetable for when partners, developers and volume licensees can obtain the Windows 7 server code. That timetable is:

OEMs: July 29 (English and Language Packs); August 11 (remaining languages) MSDN subscribers: August 14 (in English, French, German, Japanese, Italian and Spanish); August 21 (remaining languages) TechNet subscribers: August 14 (in English, French, German, Japanese, Italian and Spanish); August 21 (remaining languages) Gold Certified Microsoft resellers: August 19 (via the Microsoft Program Portal) Action Pack subscribers: August 23

Retail-channel customers: September 14 Volume licensees with existing Software Assurance (SA) licenses: August 19 (via the Volume License Service Center)

Volume licensees without an SA licenses: September 1 (via the Volume License Service Center)

Those who want to kick the tires of the RTM build: August 20 for the 180-day evaluation version of Windows Server 2008 R2

If you want to know more about what's in Windows Server 2008 R2 -- which, regardless of  Microsoft's "official" statement, is actually a major new release of its server product -- check out my ZDNet colleague Jason Perlow's blog post on the RTM version.

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