Windows Server 2008, which is scheduled to release to manufacturing (RTM) by the Feb. 27 launch event, reached the RC1 milestone today and is available to customers for download at http://www.microsoft.com/ws08eval. With RC1, Microsoft is enhancing Group Policy with Group Policy Preferences, formerly known as PolicyMaker Standard Edition and Policy Share Manager. As the code approaches final signoff, RC1 is one of the last opportunities for customers and partners to evaluate it and provide feedback. So far, more than 1.8 million customers have obtained Windows Server 2008 evaluation code. For more information, please visit the Windows Server Team blog.
The press release can be viewed here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/dec07/12-05WS08RC1PR.mspx
Based on its active solicitation of partner and customer feedback throughout the product development cycle, Microsoft has re-engineered its software certification program to help partners deliver solutions that customers can immediately deploy with confidence on Windows Server 2008. To help partners prioritize application compatibility with the new platform, Microsoft created the “Works with Windows Server 2008” program and free supporting test tools. The tools help partners ensure an application delivers a predictable experience, while giving customers the first-ever industry-standard test tools gauging an application’s compatibility with the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Partners whose applications pass the “Works with” tests can submit test results to an authorized test vendor for independent validation, creating a stepping stone toward “Certified for Windows Server 2008” status. Certification represents a higher technical bar addressing security, reliability, stability, Windows fundamentals and availability, in addition to basic compatibility. Already, more than 300 partners have enrolled applications in the Microsoft Early Access Program supporting software certification and “Works with” validation. Partners and customers have downloaded well over 5,000 copies of the software certification program test tools from http://www.innovateonwindowsserver.com/resources.aspx since July.
In addition, the Microsoft Learning organization offers a complete set of training, resources, and streamlined certification paths to give IT pros and developers a head start on transitioning their skills and credentials to Windows Server 2008 technologies. Over 3,100 Windows Server 2008 certifications have already been earned to date in anticipation of the launch of the product roughly three months from now. In addition, over 140,000 IT pros and developers have been trained on Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 to date. By launch time in late February, Microsoft Learning will have trained 300,000 people globally, and that number is expected to rise to over 700,000 by August. For more about WS08 certifications and training, please visit the Windows Server Team blog.