Longhorn Server enters closed beta

5,000 testers are to form the initial front line of testing for what is likely to become Windows Server 2007. A date for an open beta is yet to emerge

Microsoft has confirmed that just a handful of people will get to look at the beta version of Longhorn Server, despite the public release of a beta for its next-generation client-side operating system, Windows Vista.

The first beta for the server version of Longhorn — expected to be named Windows Server 2007 — is not available for public download and is now rolling out to a group of 5,000 testers, a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

Among those to get the first glimpse of the next iteration of Windows server software are hardware manufacturers, ISVs, OEMs, system builders and developers.

The beta, which includes core foundation and application programming interfaces for the server components, will enable Microsoft to gather feedback, the company said.

There is no date scheduled for when a beta will be made available to the general public, Microsoft's spokeswoman said.

While the beta of the client operating system, Windows Vista, has been available for nearly two weeks, it may not necessarily be getting a run-out on corporate PCs just yet. Analyst house Gartner recently recommended companies wait until beta 2 to begin incompatibility testing.