The announcement that Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) is now available highlighted the announcements on the first day of Microsoft TechEd North America 2009. The final version will be released at the same time as the Windows 7 operating system, which Microsoft also confirmed will be released to market in time for the holiday shopping season.
Windows Server 2008 R2 RC has several new features which Microsoft says promise to deliver real cost savings and productivity increases. The company is also touting a "better together" message that these enhancements will be particularly effective combined with the new Windows 7 OS. Two of these new features — BranchCache and DirectAccess — will in fact require the new OS to work. Other enhancements like Live Migration and File Classification Infrastructure (FCI) are specific to Windows Server 2008 and its functionality, and so will work on an older OS.