With the clock ticking toward its Feb. 27 product launch -- and cold, snowy weather blanketing its Redmond, Wash., campus -- Microsoft employees are battening down to get Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 out the door.
During a mid-January visit to Microsoft's headquarters, employees walked determinedly from one office building to another, where recently installed Starbucks coffee machines were in constant use. Ping-pong tables sat unused, and the company cafeteria was mostly empty. The campus baseball field and soccer pitch were more tundra than playgrounds.
With barely a month to go before its most important product launch since the release of Windows Vista a year ago, Microsoft still has some work to do. Microsoft has booked the time and the place -- the morning of Feb. 27 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles -- for the official launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008. But Visual Studio 2008, which shipped in November, is the only one of the three enterprise products that's actually in final shape.
Windows Server 2008 is in the near-final stages of testing now, the so-called escrow stage. Next comes what Bill Laing, general manager of Windows server development, calls the "break glass in case of emergency" stage, a week-long period during which Windows engineers scrutinize the new operating system one last time before they release it to manufacturing.
Windows Server 2008 is on track for RTM on or before Feb. 27. "We're pretty close," Laing says. "We're feeling very good about the release."
Microsoft, Windows Server 2008, Launch