Windows .NET Server RC2 Getting Close
Microsoft is due to get Release Candidate 2 of Windows .NET Server out the door this month.
- By Scott Bekker
The final test version of Windows .NET Server would need to ship around
October for Microsoft to adhere to its plan for stamping the gold code
in 2002 for an early 2003 release of Windows .NET Server.
A solid step along that path occurred in late July when Microsoft put
out Release Candidate 1 for Windows .NET Server. In its operating system
cycle, Microsoft generally goes through three rounds of beta tests, followed
by two or three Release Candidates before finalizing the code.
System software analyst Al Gillen with market research firm IDC said
the RC1 release timing put Microsoft in a good position for a late 2002
RTM and early 2003 product release. “Normally the Release Candidate stage
lasts for three months. You’ve got the opportunity to have two full Release
Candidates before RTM,” Gillen said.
The Windows .NET Server family of operating systems represent modifications
of the Windows 2000 code base that bring Active Directory enhancements,
more secure default settings, the Microsoft .NET Framework and 64-bit
computing to the Windows server line. The operating system will ship four
editions: Windows .NET Standard Server, Windows .NET Enterprise Server,
Windows .NET Datacenter Server and Windows .NET Web Server. It represents
three years of feedback and tinkering with Win2K.
Gillen contends Windows .NET Server effectively represents a “Windows
2000 Server Release 2.” Gartner analyst John Enck also sees Windows .NET
Server as a relatively minor update, targeted primarily at customers still
running Windows NT 4.0 environments.
RC1 was light on new features. Since the Beta 3 release in November 2001,
Microsoft developers integrated UDDI support and the company announced
support for eight-node failover clustering in the Enterprise Server edition.
More features were taken out since Beta 3. In May, Microsoft dropped the
Session Initiation Protocol and SharePoint Team Services. SIP and SharePoint
Team Services will be shipped separately after the general availability
of Windows .NET Server.
“The point here is that we’ve actually delivered a product that is very
reliable, very stable, that could—in many of our customer scenarios—be
used in a production environment,” Bob O’Brien, group product manager
for Windows .NET Server, said of RC1.
Probably the biggest development with RC1 was Microsoft’s opening of
the test code to a much broader set of testers. Prior to RC1, authorized
testing of Windows .NET Server was limited primarily to members of Microsoft
subscription services, such as TechNet and MSDN. “The difference here
is that we will move from thousands [of testers] to hundreds of thousands
of people,” O’Brien said.
According to O’Brien, RC2 shouldn’t bring new features but it should
bring decisions on open issues. One is whether to limit SMP support to
two processors in Windows .NET Standard Server. It would represent a cut
from the four-processor support in Win2K Server. The other decision is
whether to provide a 64-bit edition of Windows .NET Standard Server.
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.