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Microsoft readies pre-beta release of 'Windows 7 Server'

Microsoft is readying a beta of Windows Server 2008 R2, a k a "Windows 7 Server," and will share some more details about the features and rollout plans for that product during the company's Professional Developers Conference kick-off keynote on October 27.

Microsoft is readying a beta of Windows Server 2008 R2, a k a "Windows 7 Server," and will share some more details about the features and rollout plans for that product during the company's Professional Developers Conference kick-off keynote on October 27.

Microsoft officials are expected to show off M3 (Milestone 3) pre-beta build of Windows 7 at PDC. It sounds like they also will show off  the M3 of Windows Server 2008 R2, which my sources said is either done or close to done.

Update: Microsoft officials confirmed that they are providing PDC attendees with the M3 build of Windows Server 2008 R2.

In either case, Microsoft is expected to release to a select group of testers a pre-beta of Windows Server 2008 R2 in the next week or so, sources said.

(I wonder whether they also will deliver a full-fledged Beta 1 before the end of this calendar year, just like Microsoft is on track to do with Windows 7. I asked company officials for further information, but received  no word back.)

The Windows Server team is expected to add relatively few new features/functionality to the R2 release, which they've said will ship in 2010 and will be a "minor," rather than "major," update.

Among the likely new features slated for Windows Server 2008 R2 (according to a combination of sources and publicly available information):

  • Version 2 of Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor
  • Live Migration (a feature Microsoft had hoped to deliver in the first version of Hyper-V but which it cut before delivering the final code)
  • A more graphical Version 2.0 of  the PowerShell scripting engine
  • Inclusion of .Net for the Server Core role
  • A renamed/repositioned Terminal Services -- to be known as Remote Desktop Services
  • Support for 64-bit hardware only

Microsoft will play up the fact that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are being developed side-by-side and will be released alongside each other. (It's not clear, at this point, whether that means Windows Server 2008 R2 could RTM in late 2009, as Windows 7 is on track to do.)

Microsoft also is going back to its "Better Together" messaging with the pair, sources said, emphasizing how features like BranchCache (hosted server caching), enhanced group policies and BitLockeron Removable Drives will work better if customers install both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Any new features/functionality you're hoping makes it into Windows Server 2008 R2?