Keeping with established naming conventions, the next version of Windows Server--currently code-named Longhorn Server--will retain the Windows Server 200x moniker used by its predecessors, Microsoft said this week at the TechEd 2006 trade show in Boston. Therefore, Longhorn Server will be named Windows Server 2007 or Windows Server 2008 because of its projected late-2007 release date.

Ward Ralston, a senior technical product manager at Microsoft, mentioned the naming choice during a presentation at TechEd. Other Microsoft executives, speaking off the record, jokingly promised that the word "Vista" would never appear in a Windows Server product name. Windows Vista and Longhorn Server were being codeveloped through Beta 2, but the projects are now proceeding down different development paths.

Unlike Vista, the recently released Longhorn Server Beta 2 is available only to technical beta testers and MSDN and TechNet subscribers, but Microsoft also made the release available to TechEd attendees this week. A future Beta 3 release, due in early 2007, will be made available to the public. Ralston said that Longhorn Server will be feature-complete at that time. Microsoft is pushing features that are available in the Beta 2 release, including Server Core, Network Access Protection (NAP), Terminal Services Gateway and Terminal Services Remote Programs, BitLocker, and a Read-Only Domain Controller.