Microsoft has seemed to regain its stride over the last few months, with a string of important (and positive) product and marketing developments.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 hit RTM, Microsoft's laptop hunter ads are working at increasing the perceived value of Windows (and simultaneously infuriating Apple execs), and the recent headlines over the FCC investigating the Apple App Store's rejection of Google Voice is finally putting some negative media attention on Microsoft competitors.

While news of the Windows 7 RTM may have the most appeal to the consumer market, the completion of Windows Server 2008 R2 was just as significant for IT pros. The final stages of any large software development project can be a incredibly stressful time for the development team, and Microsoft's massive Windows Server 2008 R2 team was no exception. Thousands of Microsoft employees from all over the globe worked long hours to bring Windows Server 2008 R2 to fruition.

Related: Microsoft's Ward Ralston Discusses Windows Server 2008 R2

Karen Forster, Director of Media and Community for Advaiya, recently had the chance to sit down with Brian McNeill, the program manager lead for Windows Server, to discuss the Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM. Karen also used the opportunity to record a behind the scenes look at the Windows Server 2008 R2 ship room a week before the RTM of Server 2008 R2. Karen writes a bit about the experience in her blog:

"Apparently, this meeting was indeed the calm after the storm, and things hadn’t always been this relaxed. Reflecting on Microsoft’s impressive reliability data for WS08R2 at RTM, General Manager Iain McDonald said, 'We sucked at beta. So we’ve gone from being in a really bad place to being in a great place.'

Ah-hah! So, the process was not always smooth. But apparently, the teams rallied to deliver clean code on schedule and at a high quality bar.

Those reliability statistics McDonald was looking at were noteworthy. The Microsoft study shows that the new release significantly exceeds the reliability goal that was set for its predecessor Windows Server 2008 (WS08) at its RTM. As the graph in the video shows, WS08 R2 RC demonstrated availability of 99.9987 percent (~ 7 minutes of down time per year), which exceeds WS08’s RTM availability of 99.9978 percent (~12 minutes of down time per year)."

You can see the video on ITTV.net, but I've also embedded the video clip below:

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