It's official. Windows Server 2008 isn't going to manufacturing until 2008, after all.
A couple of months back, I gave Microsoft the benefit of the doubt when officials said they were launching the product in February 2008, but still releasing it to manufacturing in Q4 2007. To me, RTM is the real date by which to measure timeliness.
Microsoft told some testers privately that it planned to RTM Windows Server 2008 (the product formerly codenamed "Longhorn Server") in November 2007. The Microsoft-sanctioned ship target for Windows Server 2008, until today, was Q4 2007.
The new target for Windows Server 2008 RTM is Q1 2008. Microsoft officials said that the launch party for Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 still will happen on February 27, 2008. No word so far if Windows Server 2008 will RTM before or after the launch party. (SQL Server 2008 isn't slated to RTM until Q2 2008. Visual Studio 2008, however, is still expected to RTM before the end of 2007, last I heard.)
Microsoft is being vague as to why it is pushing back the RTM date for Windows Server 2008. Company officials provided to Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) the following explanation:
"Windows Server 2008 is releasing to manufacturing a bit later than expected because Microsoft’s first priority is to deliver a quality product to our customers and we need a little more time to meet the high quality bar that we set for ourselves ."
I'm wondering, which was delayed first: Windows Server 2008 or Vista Service Pack 1 -- which also is due to RTM in Q1 2008, but was originally slated for November 2007, according to testers who heard this date from Microsoft, but requested anonymity.
Regardless of which got pushed back first, it looks like Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 are going to be released around the same time, after all. It just won't be this year, as originally expected.