Microsoft launches Windows Server 2008 RC1

Release Candidate 1 has been rolled out and the date confirmed for the full launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

As Microsoft starts the final countdown to what it is billing as the "biggest launch wave in the company's history", it has announced that customers can now download Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 1.

The announcement came on Wednesday as the company confirmed 27 February as the launch date for Windows Server 2008. Microsoft also said it would be launching SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 at the 27 February event, which will be held in Los Angeles.

Despite its name, Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is actually Microsoft's second Windows Server 2008 release candidate. In September, the company shifted from its usual practice in numbering its release candidates, with the first release candidate numbered '0', rather than '1'. At the time Microsoft said that RC0 was "feature-complete but not far enough along in the development process to be called RC1".

Microsoft said it was committing $150m (£73m) of funding to woo IT professionals and developers and said it was developing additional partner programmes in preparation for the launch.

The software giant's launch event will be branded "Heroes happen here". It claims the launch will be "focused on celebrating the incredible work that IT professionals and developers do to deliver heroic results to their organisations, colleagues and customers".

According to Andy Lees, corporate vice president of the Server and Tools Marketing and Solutions Group at Microsoft, it will be "the largest enterprise launch in our history, and both Microsoft and many of our industry partners are making a significant investment in a worldwide rollout".

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