With over 300,000 downloads of Beta 3 already under our belt, there is a lot of excitement here in Redmond as we get closer to our release candidate milestone for Windows Server 2008.  Customers and partners are very impressed with what they see, and the number of servers deployed in real production environments at our Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) customers increases week to week. From these pioneering customers and from our own internal deployment efforts, we continue to get great feedback on the product. In fact, this very web site (assuming you’re reading the original blog on microsoft.com) has been running entirely on Windows Server 2008 since before Beta 3.
You know, one of the reasons that we have  this blog is  to tell you about the cool stuff we are working on, but also to provide a place to have an open and honest dialogue about the development process of a product of this magnitude. So this seems like the best place to let you know that Windows Server 2008, which we have been saying would Release to Manufacturing (RTM) by the end of the calendar year, is now slated to RTM in the first quarter of calendar year 2008.  Why?  Well, as you know, Microsoft’s first priority is to deliver a great product to our customers and partners, and while we’re very happy with the feedback we’re getting and the overall quality of the latest product builds, we would rather spend a little more time to meet the high quality bar that our customers and partners  deserve and expect.  As one of our leading program managers, Alex Hinrichs, told me, “”it’s like a brisket I it just needs a little more time to bake.” And you should try his brisket!
So you might be wondering how this affects our launch event, which is scheduled for February 27, 2008 in Los Angeles. The answer is simple: it doesn’t. We’ll be there in LA on February 27 and at venues around the world in the following days and weeks.  The launch event will feature Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008.
We have a busy schedule ahead of us and I look forward to speaking with and seeing many of you in the months to come.  Look for more from the Windows Server 2008 team soon and check out the Windows Vista Blog for more info on Windows Vista SP1.