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Next Win Server Release Breaks Lockstep with Win10

Amidst the TechNet blogs let loose last weekend, this interesting little item from the Server & Cloud Blog let it be known that, for the first time since the Windows Vista era, the next release of Windows Server (which Paul Thurrott handily calls “Server vNext,” so I will too) will no longer be released in tandem with the next Windows desktop version. That is, though Windows 10 remains on the table for the latter half of 2015 (the smart folks are looking for a September or October release date), Server vNext won’t be headed out the door until sometime later than that.

Be it by design or by happy accident, Server vNext won’t release until 2016, so for now we’ll stick with WinServ 2012 R2.

Here’s what the blog post entitled “Windows Server and System Center roadmap update” has to say on the topic of release timing:

As we continue to advance the development of these products, we plan to release further previews through the remainder of 2015, with the final release in 2016. Our next preview is planned for the spring of 2015.

I agree with the consensus of the Microsoft-watchers who’ve opined on this change to what has been “standard operating procedure” with MS for some time now. Business users in general, and enterprises in particular, tend to follow behind the timeline when investigating, procuring, migrating to, and deploying new Windows Server versions. With Windows 2012 R2 less than two years old at the moment, releasing a new Server version simply lengthens the time span in which that new version might receive consideration and the barest beginnings of due diligence from business IT operations. Thus, there’s no reason to rush Server vNext out the door, and letting it slide until 2016 means that 2012 R2 remains the best target for migration for the many, many, many copies of Windows Server 2003 whose end-of-life data pops on July 14, 2015. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Server vNext were to slip still further, and would wonder if that caused even the barest ripples of concern from its target customers.