Windows Server 8 officially dubbed Windows Server 2012

It's a big week on the Windows branding front, with Microsoft officially releasing the final names for Windows 8 client and Windows 8 Server.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It's the week for Microsoft to make official the names of the products that have born the codename "Windows 8."

On April 16, Microsoft officials unsurprisingly revealed that the final name of Windows 8 on most PCs and tablets would be "Windows 8." The name of Windows 8 on ARM tablets, surprisingly, is Windows RT -- not to be confused (ha!) with the WinRT Windows Runtime which is the crux of the Windows 8 Metro-Style development platform.

On April 17, Microsoft officials said during the opening keynote of the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2012 in Las Vegas that the final name of Windows Server 8 will be "Windows Server 2012."

The server name is an unsurprising choice, as well. Microsoft typically uses date-centric names for its Windows Server product family. And even though the Softies have not yet said when Windows 8 client or Windows Server 2012 will be released to manufacturing and made generally available, it's been considered a given for a while now that this would happen before the end of calendar year 2012.

(Inside baseball alert: Some Microsoft watchers have said they think there is a hard and fast rule that any product that Microsoft releases after the end of its current fiscal year -- June 30 -- automatically gets the following year attached to its name. I've heard this supposed rule isn't a rule at all, and that Microsoft product naming is more haphazard than some of my colleagues tend to believe. Windows Server 2012 may be released to manufacturing before June 30, and it may not. In either case, it's not going to be dubbed Windows Server 2013.)

Windows Server 2012 is currently available in beta form. A near-final release candidate of both the server and the Windows 8 client are expected some time this summer (possibly late May/early June, according to idle gossip). Microsoft officials have not provided a RC target date, nor an RTM date for either version of the product.

At MMS 2012, Microsoft officials also announced that System Center 2012 is now generally available. System Center 2012 is the family of eight different Microsoft systems-management products that Microsoft is now bundling together as a suite. Microsoft released System Center 2012 to manufacturing around late March/early April and already made the final bits available to volume customers and TechNet/MSDN subscribers.

System Center 2012 is available as either a Standard or DataCenter bundle. Microsoft is positioning System Center 2012 as a cornerstone of both its private and public cloud offerings. Redmond officials are pitching System Center 2012 as appealing to both the "server administrator and the cloud innovator."

Microsoft also released for download this week Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012, the newest version of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, which supports the deployment of Windows 7, Office 2010 and 365, and Windows Server 2008 R2 in addition to deployment of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP.

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