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Microsoft Outlines Windows Server Road Map

A top Microsoft executive on Wednesday outlined the company's Windows server plans into 2007 and beyond.

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems, and additional "feature packs" are due this year. Service Pack 1, as the company has said, will include security enhancements, as well as boot-time network protection and VPN client inspection, according to Bob Muglia, senior VP of the Windows Server Division.

A Windows Server 2003 update, a follow-on to Service Pack 1 code-named R2, is slated for release in 2005. Among other things, that server is slated to include "network defense" technology that would prevent unsecured laptops from entering the corporate LAN.

Network defense, sometimes called quarantine, "would ensure that when a client enters a LAN or a VPN, it has the correct level of patches and antivirus software on it," Muglia said. He did acknowledge that because of the complexity of this defense, it may take companies some time to implement it fully. "This is a hard space--you put up new barriers to prevent clients from coming in but when a CEO tries to log in and his patch level is not up to date and can't, that's a bad day for IT," Muglia said.

The off-and-on again Longhorn Server, is on again, with the first real beta due next year and beta tests continuing through 2006, with release slated for 2007. Muglia didn't address timing or details on the Longhorn client side, except to say the client and server betas would be released close to the same time next year and that the server would ship about a year after the client. An update for Longhorn server already is on the drawing board for 2009.