At Microsoft's IT Forum in Barcelona, Spain, the software giant announced the planned release of the complementary Virtual Server 2005 R2 to manufacturing in December--and a major price cut--but did not announce the next big milestones for the R2 version of the Windows Server 2003--the release to manufacturing and ship dates.
Microsoft said the debut of Windows Desktop Search for Enterprise Deployment at IT Forum has no bearing on the schedule for Windows Server 2003 R2.
From his office in Redmond, Wash., Windows Server executive Bob Kelly said R2 will not be delayed. He did not say why Microsoft said little about R2's ship date except to say Microsoft discussed core scenarios of R2 at IT Forum as it prepares for going gold in the near future, he said.
"There's no holdup. We're still on target for what we promised," said Kelly. "We will RTM before the end of the calendar year."
Regarding the possibility of a delay into 2006, Kelly said it would not happen. "Not at all," he said. "We we feel very good about where we are."
IT Forum is Microsoft's last major conference of the calendar year. Release Candidate 2 of Windows Server 2003 R2 was made available roughly a month ago.
Sources close to Microsoft said they expect R2 will be released to manufacturing by the end of next month but may not be widely available in the channel until early 2006.
Partners said they are looking forward to R2's new features--including Active Directory Federation Services, better branch office support and vastly enhanced Unix integration features--but they are not too worried about the release of R2.
Microsoft also announced an 80 percent price cut on Virtual Server 2005 R2, which will be priced at $99 for the Standard Edition and $199 for the Enterprise Edition from $499 and $899, respectively, in version 1.0.
One partner said he was told to expect a mid-December release. Another partner said the company will just make the end-of-year promise. "I'm told right at the end of the year, six to seven weeks, " he said.