windows-7-logo_thumb The release of Windows 7 is anticipated to be available to customers in time for the holiday shopping season. In addition, Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) is now available with the final product releasing to market in the same timeframe as Windows 7.

“Microsoft is committed to ensuring that IT professionals and developers continue to have the platform and technologies to drive maximum value and business results. Getting the most out of IT investments is even more important in today’s economy,” said Bill Veghte, senior vice president of the Windows Business at Microsoft, who delivered a keynote speech at Microsoft Tech•Ed North America 2009.

Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 include security, reliability and productivity enhancements, which, when used together, help deliver significant cost savings and productivity gains with features such as DirectAccess and BranchCache.

You can download Windows 7 RC. For more information about how you can take advantage of the features of Windows 7 in your development efforts, see Walkthrough to Get Your Applications Ready for Windows 7.

New Features in the Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate

W2K8R2_thumb_1 New features mentioned today that are new to the release candidate of Windows Server 2008 R2:

  • Hyper-V scales higher — Microsoft's server virtualization software will now give users the ability to support 64 logical processors, with the goal of getting more out of hardware and server availability and handling the biggest enterprise workloads. Previously, Hyper-V could only scale up to 32 processors.
  • Processor Compatibility Mode — Allows the migration of virtual machines to another physical server with a different CPU version (but not to a machine with a CPU made by a different chipmaker.) In the past, to move a Hyper-V virtual machine to different hardware, the CPUs had to be the same, forcing users to buy new hardware.
  • File Classification Infrastructure — FCI is a built-in feature that allows IT pros to classify and manage data in file servers. Data can be classified as having high, medium or low business impact, and then users can back up the most important data more often and on higher-speed storage.

Windows Server 2008 R2 RC also offers increased hardware utilization and server availability with built-in Live Migration for virtualization technologies.

You can download Windows Server 2008 R2. For more information about using Windows Server 2008 R2 features in your products, see How to Get Started Leveraging Windows Server 2008 R2 Features.

SQL Server 2008 R2 to Preview in H2

Also announced at TechEd, a Community Technology Preview of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (formerly SQL Server code-named “Kilimanjaro”) will be available in the second half of 2009. SQL Server 2008 R2 will empower end users to make better decisions through self-service business intelligence, and help IT drive greater efficiency and reduce costs through new capabilities such as multi-server management and Master Data Services. In 2010, Microsoft will also introduce complex event processing for real-time insight into streaming information.

For more information about SQL Server 2008 R2, see Microsoft Empowers Enterprises to Think Bigger About Business Intelligence.