Microsoft soft launches Virtual Server 2005 amidst delays

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Plagued by product delays, Microsoft soft launched Virtual Server 2005 at
TechEd on Wednesday, however did not present delegates with the product.

Delegates were supposed to receive CDs containing Virtual Server 2005 at
TechEd 2004 in Canberra, Michael Leworthy, Windows Servers product
manager, Microsoft Australia confirmed.

Instead, due to product delays and issues around CD replication, Virtual
Server 2005 was announced as released to manufacture yesterday, during a technical session with little fanfare. Leworthy said the product on CDs
should be available within the next few weeks.

Leworthy also said it was a question of quality of its product, but added there
was an issue around CD replication at such short order.

"We bank our company on the quality of our products," Leworthy said.

This is not the first product delay for Microsoft. The software vendor has
pushed back the slated release dates for various server and tool product
sets recently, including the anticipated SQL Server 2005 -- code named
Yukon -- and Visual Studio.NET -- code named Whidbey -- originally slated for
the second half of this year.

Under the current roadmap, Yukon won't be released until the second half
of 2005, however Microsoft would not guarantee this timetable.

Eric Rudder, Microsoft vice president, server and tools, said the products
would "be shipped when [they are] ready."

Rudder outlined the highlights of Microsoft's updated release roadmap in a
roundtable discussion with Australian journalists. Rudder said the quality
of features that is going into its products, such as Yukon, combined with
Microsoft's increased security push, has been responsible for the delays.

In late July Microsoft issued a white paper called the "Windows Server
Product Roadmap" ( which detailed the new release cycle for Windows Server. After a month the 2004 schedule was already out of date with Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit extended systems and the Windows Update 2005 pushed back to 2005. Leworthy said part of the reason for this reschedule was because of the delay in Windows XP SP2.

Rudder also talked up the yet to be released Longhorn as "the most exciting
version of Windows in a decade". The release of Longhorn Beta one is
scheduled for the second half of 2005 with the release of the final
product anticipated in 2007.

"It's a totally new user experience. There's a great momentum around new
applications. For developers and IT administrators it's a natural
extension to what they are already doing. Customers using .NET will see
those applications run smoothly on top of Longhorn. Longhorn has many
constituents to satisfy. It is primarily a consumer release, with a great
out of box personal experience... It also does a great job with IT
professionals, business users and information workers."

The vendor expected to make the updated product roadmap available to its
customers within the next few days.

A release candidate of Virtual Server 2005 -- a time-limited evaluation
version -- is available to download at no cost.

Siobhan Chapman travelled to TechEd in Canberra as a guest of Microsoft.

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