Microsoft is posting the final beta and first publicly available and feature-complete version of Windows Server "Longhorn," marking the final time the product will be available for testing and feedback before the long-awaited server update is available later this year.
Microsoft posted Longhorn beta 3 code on a special Web page on Wednesday says Ward Ralston, senior technical product manager for the software. It's the first time anyone who's interested can get their hands on the product, which has been in private beta release only until now.
This also will be the first time users can get a look at a new scripting and command-line technology, Microsoft PowerShell, at work from within Longhorn server, he says. The technology, which allows administrators to more easily automate tasks across Windows servers on a network, previously was available as a separate add-on, but will be built directly into Longhorn and is making its first appearance in a test version of the product.
Customers also can get a first look in beta 3 at two new Longhorn features -- a new always-on firewall in Server Manager and an installation option called Server Core, Ralston said.
Longhorn is due for final release sometime in the second half of the year, a time frame that, in typical Microsoft fashion, was revised several times.
In fact, Ralston said on Wednesday that the Longhorn team is "proud" to have gotten beta 3 out on time; its release was scheduled for the first half of 2007, which means it was due by the end of June and according to Microsoft's schedule is actually out the door early.