Although nearly half of companies are planning to install Windows Server 2008 within a year, virtualisation is not a key driver for adoption, a survey of ZDNet.co.uk readers has revealed.
At an event in London on Wednesday, Microsoft officially launched Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, and announced the release of SQL Server 2008 which is due to become available later this year. The server operating system is going to be available in eight different versions with release dates staggered over the year.
The company also confirmed that its Hyper-V hypervisor virtualisation technology will not be released for another 180 days. However, Microsoft claims a beta version of the hypervisor will be included in the initial releases of Windows Server 2008, and the final production Hyper-V will be released and distributed online through its auto-update system.
To gauge business reaction to the launch, ZDNet.co.uk surveyed a proportion of readers about adoption plans around the release of the products which Microsoft has described as the biggest enterprise launch in its history.
The survey revealed that 48 percent of respondents expect to adopt Windows Server 2008 in the next year, 14 percent in the next two years and nine percent in more than two years.
However, the survey also showed that many companies are in no hurry to adopt the server software, with 25 percent claiming to have no plans to install it at all and a further five percent claiming not to know whether they would install it. "We're trying to move away from Windows wherever possible," one respondent claimed.
Virtualisation is widely seen as one of the most important developments around server management — and business computing in general — in recent times. However, in terms of importance, respondents to the survey ranked Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation hypervisor seventh out of the nine new or upgraded features in the operating system.
Respondents voted the upgraded Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS 7.0) web server the most important feature in the new operating system, followed by .Net Framework 3.0 and Windows Deployment Services (WDS). Microsoft claims the main enhancements in IIS 7.0 include richer hosting support and secure FTP support.
Asked to rank potential issues with Windows Server 2008, respondents put compatibility with other software and its expense compared with Linux as the top two areas of concern with the new operating system.
The survey also explored the relationship between Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista. Microsoft will no doubt be hoping that the new server platform will help to drive the rather lacklustre uptake of its desktop operating system to date. But while 54 percent of respondents said that they planned to upgrade to both systems, 40 percent said they planned to move adopt Server 2008 but not Vista.
When questioned on adoption plans around Vista, 30 percent of respondents said they had no plans to adopt the desktop OS at all. However, 19 percent said they had already started installing Vista and a further 42 percent said they planned to adopt it within the next two years.
Asked about Microsoft's database upgrade, SQL Server 2008, readers were most concerned with the fact that the system is only compatible with Windows Server, followed by the one-time expense of upgrade and the fact that an integrated product approach forces users to stick with Microsoft.
Regarding Microsoft's Visual Studio development platform, readers ranked web-application development and .Net Framework 3.5 support as the most important features of the application.
The survey was completed by 58 respondents with a variety of job titles. The largest group, making up 32 percent of respondents, described themselves as IT or computer consultants.