I didn't attend this week's TechEd 2009 shindig in Los Angeles because of a looming book deadline, but it looks like I wasn't the only one who couldn't make it this year: Only 7,000 attendees showed up for what has historically been one of Microsoft's biggest annual conferences. But don't let the lackluster turnout or the global economic crisis that's behind it get in the way of the news. Because there's a lot to tell.

Windows 7
I previously noted that Microsoft had told me in recent briefings that it intended to ship Windows 7 before the end of 2009, but this week, company representatives were even more definitive: While Microsoft still won't provide an exact launch date for Windows 7, they have confirmed publicly this week that Windows 7 will be made available in time for the holiday 2009 selling season. This suggests an October release, but Microsoft said it had no comment on specifics when pressed.

Windows Server 2008 R2
Last week, I published an overview of the Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) on the SuperSite for Windows. This week, Microsoft is revealing more changes that are coming in this release, and the changes are big news.

First, Microsoft is introducing a major new R2 feature called File Classification Infrastructure (FCI). FCI provides an infrastructure by which admins and IT pros can classify data using file labels and properties, then apply policy based on that classification. FCI is managed via the File System Resource Manager (FSRM) and is compatible with Microsoft Office SharePoint.

Second, Microsoft is revealing that it will now support Hyper-V live migration between servers that are in the same processor family (Intel or AMD). Previously, both servers had to be running the same processor family and version.

So you’ll be able to do things such as migrate from an Intel Pentium 4-based server to an Intel Core 2 Duo-based server. What's still not possible is cross-migration between AMD- and Intel-based servers. The issue is technical, not political, according to Microsoft. And the company is working to make cross-family migrations possible in the future.

Third, Hyper-V 2.0 can now utilize up to 64 logical processors of the pool of up to 256 that are available in the host, Windows Server 2008 R2. This pool of logical processors can be split as needed between any number of virtual machines. (The original version of Hyper-V supports 24 logical processors, up from 16 when it first shipped; the original version of Server 2008 natively supports 64 logical processors.)

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
Microsoft revealed that SQL Server "Kilimanjaro" will be branded as SQL Server 2008 R2. The company will showcase some new features in this release in the coming months, but you can look forward to such things as Master Data Services (MDS) and Application and Multi-Server Management (AMSM) in the CTP that will ship soon.

Microsoft Office 2010
Speaking of CTPs, Microsoft told me that it would ship a limited released CTP of Office 2010 (formerly "Office 14") in July 2009, ahead of the public beta (fall 2009) and final release (first half of 2010). No news yet on new features, but as an added bonus for anyone who attends TechEd, Microsoft will be providing those people with automatic access to the CTP. As with SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft will provide more info about this soon.