With our announcement of Release Candidate 1 yesterday, the EBS team is getting close to shipping and getting the product out to market. There are a number of things that happen in these final stages, so let me give you an inside look at some of those stages and dates.
RTM (Release to Manufacturing)
The first thing that has to happen, of course, is the software has to be ready for worldwide use. The product team is finishing the last couple things in the product and fixing any issues our TAP (Technical Adoption Program - customers who run our product in production before it is released and give us feedback) or Techbeta participants tell us about. In the final stages we put our final software to the test in real customer environments - so if you buy it off the shelf, you won't be the first person to try it out.
At this stage, the manufacturing team takes the code, burns the disks, prints docs and boxes, and gets the materials to places you normally buy Microsoft server software. When you can go buy a product in a given market, it is "Generally Available" in that market. This process can take a few weeks. At the same time, OEMs are taking the RTM software and adding to their processes so customers can buy machines with the software pre-loaded at General Availability.
The last stage in releasing a product is general available, is to get the word out. If a product can be bought, but the people who want to buy it don't know it, it doesn't do a lot of good :-) At the product launch, you can expect Microsoft and the press to come out with a lot of news about the product.
EBS key dates
This week, we announced that our Essential Business Server product launch will be November 12th. At that time it will be released (RTM) and Generally available in major markets. All language and localized versions of EBS will come soon in the following months. Our goal is to have the product released in all markets as soon as possible.
As the team completes the final work on the product, we will be refining the RTM and General availability dates by market and making more specific announcements about these intermediate details. For now, the team wanted all of our partners and customers to know more specifically when the product would be out and when Microsoft will be heavily getting the word out. (Partners have told us they want to make sure they have that date so they can make sure they have educated themselves on EBS and can be ready when customers come asking about the product)
-Eric Watson, Group Program Manager EBS
Live from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston