You may have seen a bunch of noise today around dates & Windows Server 2008.  Seeing it is my group's job to shepherd the release out the door, I thought I would enter the fray.  This is kinda the non story of the year because our launch date is exactly the same as it was before – it’s not like people who have got the product before then…

                                                                                                                          

My bottom line is no one will remember if something shipped a month late vs. if the quality is not up to scratch.  I don't think this is a worry for this release. Regardless of anything else, we'll take as much time as we're allowed to, to get a release out.  If we get the opportunity to wait a month & see if the feedback spikes with people running systems in production over Christmas, I'll take it every time.  It's not like anyone actually deploys over Christmas - in fact every time I have that discussion with people in our IT group they laugh at me.  That, however, may be their normal reaction to my brilliant ideas….

 

Beta 3 has been the quietest beta I have ever been involved with. Ever. Less issues coming in, less problems coming up, no really weird thing that just surprise us. Yes, every beta has bugs & we’ve gotten a bunch - but there just are less than I have ever seen with the sorts of deployments & real world scenarios we know are going on.  In fact the biggest issue was the fact that the local Administrator password was set to <blank>.  That was horrible experience & luckily the overwhelming negative feedback got us to turn the people who needed to and we fixed that a while ago with the CTP.

 

I counted the "ship-it" things in my office today (see the postscript) & I guess I have been involved with around 40 prerelease releases (betas, release candidate, etc )- I don't really count ctps because we used to do them all the time before marketing put a name on them - if I were to, I'd have to triple this number. 

 

I have a story about how in Windows 2000 I said a bad word to a bunch of Aussie press who were over here while saying basically it doesn’t matter if it is late vs. if it is not up to scratch. The bad word eventually got printed in a story in the Sydney Morning Herald & my mother wasn’t exactly happy.  There is a much longer version to be told over a Hendricks & Tonic – has to have a slice of cucumber, thanks.

 

So, how do i actually know people are using it?  In the WS08 Server Manager, betas are configured, by default, to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) – this means we get some data – roles installed, uptime, etc from each machine. Below is a screen shot of where this is enabled in the server manager  (full disclosure – the screenshot was this Mondays build on my laptop).  

 

Seeing I am the Privacy lead for the Server & Tools Business I now will link the Privacy Policy so people don’t think we’re doing bad stuff with this data.  Actually, it doesn’t matter people - will think we’re using it to work out the kinks in the "sharks with laser beams" project. You can opt out of the CEIP & the default for shipping products is off. However, it does give us some info on what’s happening to the system, & we have been able to make decisions to make the system better. Between the TAP (Technology Adoption Program)  & the IIS Go Live program there are over 5,000 servers in production on Beta 3. Good example is this little website called Microsoft.com – here is the Netcraft link - it is the #10 site on the net. We look at the data coming back – crashes, uptime, bugs, newsgroup discussion every week in our review meeting (Alex also runs a daily Ship room where things are looked at in excruciating detail).  I wish we’d had this stuff in previous releases – it is so much better & deeper than anything we’ve ever seen before.

server manager

 

Some time. I'll talk about the problems we've been having putting laser beams on sharks. Oh, dang...

 

/iain

 

p.s. When Microsoft releases a product, you get a little sticky badge for your Ship It award. The Ship-it was a big slab of Lucite that could be very bad if you dropped it on your foot (its the one on the right)- the new improved version is a piece of glass attached to a piece of metal - i preferred the old ones.  I took a photo of my 2 (they gave me a 3rd – in the background) – because I don’t stick all of them on, I guess my count is out of whack in their database.

Ship its

If you can't read it, here are the releases I really was involved in (sometimes you get one for being peripherally involved):

·         MS Mail 3.2 (April 17, 1993)

·         MS Mail 3.5 (June 14, 1995)

·         Exchange Server 4.0 (March 13, 1996)

·         Exchange Server 5.0 (February 27, 1997)

·         Exchange Server 5.5 (November 5, 1997)

·         Windows 2000 (December 15, 1999)

·         Windows XP (August 24, 2001)

·         Windows Server 2003 (March 26, 2003)

·         Windows Server 2003 R2 (December 6, 2005)