Microsoft Testers Get Hands On Server 2008 Preview

pushing back the RTM release of Windows Server 2008 last month

In a post on the Windows Server Division Weblog, Ward Ralston, senior technical product manager, announced the availability of Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 0 to a select group of testers in the vendor's customer technology preview program.

Ralston played up the inclusion of server virtualization in the CTP release and said it will help spur organizations to begin testing the technology in their network environments.

"With Windows Server virtualization CTP, customers will now be able leverage the scalability of hypervisor-based platform and features, including multi-processor guests, large memory allocation (more than 32 gigabytes per machine) and integrated virtual switch support that enables IT organizations to virtualize most workloads," Ralston wrote.

Windows Server 2008 adds a slew of new features, including network access protection (NAP), terminal services, Bitlocker encryption, group policy management, and beefed up Active Directory services.

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However, many partners are fixated on Microsoft's planned virtualization hypervisor, code-named Viridian, which the vendor plans to ship as an add-on six months after the official release of Windows Server 2008.

Meanwhile, Microsoft on Monday also released the beta version of Windows Vista Service Pack to about 12,000 private beta testers in its Connect program.