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Microsoft to Step Up Server Product Release Schedule

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Microsoft seems to be moving to upgrade more frequently the other members of its Windows Server System.

SAN DIEGO—Microsoft Corp. is planning to deliver updates to its Exchange Server product every two years and is considering a similar move to deliver SQL Server updates in a more timely manner, company officials said at the TechEd 2004 conference here.

The moves to deliver more frequent, smaller updates—rather than waiting years between major releases chock-full of new features—follow on the heels of Microsoft's recent announcement that it is stepping up its Windows Server delivery schedule.

Microsoft officials said earlier this month that the company is pushing to deliver Windows Server releases every two years. In between the major Windows Server upgrades, which will be spaced four years apart, the company will ship an interim, minor Windows Server release, according to the Redmond, Wash., company's latest roadmap. The result? A new version of Windows Server should hit roughly every two years.

A similar strategy is underfoot with Exchange.

The Exchange Server team acknowledged at TechEd that the company has scrapped the Exchange "Kodiak" code name. Kodiak, which Microsoft first discussed in 2001, referred to the next major version of Exchange Server that was due to follow Exchange Server 2003. The most recent ship date Microsoft had assigned to Kodiak was 2006.

Microsoft is still planning on doing a major release of Exchange Server, said Kim Akers, senior director for Exchange Server. But that new release, which still will feature the same "unified" SQL Server data store, as well as the productivity and reliability enhancements that had been expected to be part of Kodiak, does not yet have a code name.

But before Microsoft delivers the next major version, the company will roll out a more minor interim release, currently known as Exchange Edge Services. Edge Services is due out in early 2005.

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