Cluster Version Of Windows Delayed

cluster version

The operating system is now due to beta in the second half of the year, with the final delivery slated for the first half of 2006, according to a Microsoft spokeswoman. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is hoping the platform will boost its credibility in the high-end server arena.

This summer, Microsoft also plans to offer an updated Software Development Kit, the spokeswoman said. The first SDK was released late last year to some ISVs and OEM partners.

In an e-mail sent Tuesday night, the spokeswoman attributed the delay as a response to customer and partner feedback. Microsoft wants to ensure that "this first version release is tailored properly for our target customer segment--scale-out, personal and department supercomputing," she said in the e-mail. The extra time will enable Microsoft to incorporate their input into the release, in turn allowing the company to make it more of a "higher volume, more mainstream" product.

This Windows Server release was designed to bolster Microsoft's profile in high-performance computing (HPC).

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One exasperated partner in the southeast said this is no shocker: "Everything's late [out of Microsoft]. SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, why should this be any different?"

A large integrator said the slip isn't major.

"Server Pack 1 for the core server product shipped RTM [release to manufacturing] last week, so the focus is shifting to things like the cluster edition. HPC is a big niche, but it's still a niche," said John Parkinson, chief technologist for the Americas at Capgemini.

The SDK "refresh" is necessary to coordinate with SP1 code, Parkinson said. Most of the HPC deliverables remain dependent on next-generation Intel and AMD chips that aren't due out until next year anyway, he said.

Pete Samson, vice president and general manager of Unisys Enterprise Server market development, said he agrees that the quality of the release is more important than the date. "While any slippage is frustrating and may affect some project planning, nothing is more critical than ensuring that code is fully developed and rigorously tested before being deployed to enterprise customers," he said.

Microsoft posted related information on its Web site.

This story was updated Wednesday to include solution provider comments.