Microsoft on Wednesday launched the second release candidate for Windows Server 2008 and unveiled plans to spend $150 million to drum up interest in Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008.
In addition to launching Windows Server 2008 RC1 (which follows RC0) Microsoft also committed to launching Windows Server 2008 to manufacturing before its Feb. 27 mega-launch event in Los Angeles, which will also include SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008.
In August, Microsoft pushed the RTM for Windows Server 2008 from year's end to sometime during the first quarter of 2008, but had been somewhat ambiguous about an exact timeframe.
"This is definitely a significant milestone," said Joseph Landes, Microsoft's director of product management for Windows Server 2008.
The theme of the event is 'Heroes Happen Here,' a title that celebrates the work that IT professional are doing, as well as Microsoft's belief that the usefulness and potential of the three products are best explained by customers and partners, according to Landes.
Microsoft's partner ecosystem has been in a "feeding frenzy of excitement and enthusiasm" over the upcoming launch, says Landes, and Platinum level sponsors such as Intel, AMD, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Unisys, CA, Quest, Citrix, Fujitsu, and Hitachi have signed on to help promote the event.
Landes says Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has also been busily gathering feedback from its ISV partners on the steps necessary to get their applications certified and ready for the Windows Server 2008 launch.
Microsoft's 'Works With' program allows ISVs to conduct basic application testing as a prelude to full certification, Landes notes. "They can see how their apps compare in just 2 to 4 hours by running them through 20 test cases," he said.
SQL Server 2008 had its third community technology preview last month, and Microsoft plans to have one more CTP before launch, says Landes. Microsoft released Visual Studio 2008 to manufacturing last month.