LOS ANGELES--After two weeks of focus on the desktop version of Windows 7, it's server counterpart finally got a day in the sun.
Vice President Bill Laing began on Thursday pointed out the obvious difference between the products that would use the server software, as compared to Netbooks and other PCs built on Windows 7.
"We actually use forklift devices to bring our toys," he said, pointing to several refrigerator-size servers that were on stage with him.
Laing traced the company's progress in developing its various server operating systems, which now span from its Windows Home Server product to the data center and high-performance computing versions of Windows Server 2008.
Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 is now in technical beta, he said.
Next week, the company plans to launch the small and midsize business versions of its server products--Windows Small Business Server 2008 (formerly code-named Cougar) and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (formerly code-named Centro).
But the main focus was on the server version of Windows 7, known as Windows Server 2008 R2. It's noteworthy because, on the server side, Microsoft is characterizing Windows 7 as a minor release, while the desktop Windows 7 is being called a major release--albeit one with fewer low-level changes than came with Vista.
As for Windows Server 2008 R2, Laing confirmed its statement that it will be 64-bit only.
Other features include support for more processors--256 compared to 64 in Windows Server 2008--as well as live migration and the next version of its PowerShell scripting language. Live migration was a feature originally planned for the first release of Windows Server 2008, but the plan was scrapped as Microsoft aimed to get the product out the door.
WinHEC attendees received a prebeta version of the new server operating system alongside their copy of desktop Windows 7. Microsoft said on its server blog that the prebeta is available only to those at WinHEC or the TechEd EMEA conference, while everyone else will have to wait until the beta is released early next year.