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Longhorn Delays Will Impact Windows Upgrades, Gartner Says

Delays in Microsoft's introduction of its Longhorn operating system could impact enterprises' plans to upgrade their Windows operating systems, an analyst told corporate users at the Gartner Data Center Conference, held this week in Las Vegas.

Tom Bittman, research vice president of Gartner, said he expects Microsoft to release its Longhorn operating system sometime between late 2006 and mid-2008, but that the release could be even further out.

Because of that delay, Bittman said he expects Microsoft to reintroduce feature packs for its Windows Server 2003 operating system, probably starting in 2004 or 2005. He said he expects at least one feature pack to be released specifically for security.

Those feature packs could have an impact on Microsoft's Longhorn release schedule, Bittman said. "How successful the feature packs are will determine how quickly Longhorn comes out," he said. "If the feature packs do well, there will be less pressure on Microsoft to come out with Longhorn."

In the meantime, for Windows Server 2003, there is no real reason for an enterprise to wait for Service Pack 1 before upgrading its operating system, as that platform appears to be very stable, Bittman said. However, as a rule enterprises should not adopt any new operating system for security-critical servers for at least one year after it becomes available, he added.

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