At his Tech Ed 2007 keynote address this week in Orlando, Florida, Microsoft Senior Vice President Bob Muglia provided a lot of information about upcoming Microsoft products and outlined his company's IT-oriented plans for the future. For the past few years, Microsoft has used Muglia's public appearances to communicate its enterprise product roadmaps, and his Tech Ed 2007 keynote was no different.

According to Muglia, Microsoft is presenting its IT-related products in the context of three so-called optimization models: core infrastructure, business productivity, and application platform. Traditionally, Microsoft has also supported each of these models with a number of interrelated initiatives--things like Dynamic Services Initiative (DSI), the Microsoft .NET programming environment, and security. But Muglia said that Microsoft is ready to integrate these initiatives more cohesively into what he calls the "vision for the future."

"The areas of focus really are first and foremost unified and virtualized; process-led, model-driven; service-enabled; and user focused," he said.  "Now, those are the top level areas of these four technology initiatives, but they must fit underneath the platform ... It's very much focused on real world things. It's focused on how we can deliver products and services in the short run, but there is a long term plan against these that really will enable very substantive business results."

Tempering the high-minded nature of the roadmap with humor--there was even a bit with actor Christopher Lloyd reprising his mad scientist role from the "Back to the Future" movies, Muglia also talked up concrete, upcoming products such as Windows Server 2008 (formerly code-named Longhorn), various System Center products, BizTalk Server 2006 R2, and SQL Server 2008 (formerly code-named Katmai). He announced that Microsoft would be adding a new Web Server role to Server Core, the low-impact, command line-based version of Windows 2008, drawing cheers from the audience. (Note, however, that this role won't support ASP .NET because Microsoft has yet to create a version of .NET that is Server Core compatible.) He also downplayed problems with Windows Server Virtualization (code-named Viridian), noting that it will still ship about six months after Windows 2008, "as we said all along."

Noting that the upcoming "Orcas" version of Visual Studio would be branded as Visual Studio 2008, Muglia demonstrated that this release would include an integrated version of Tools for Office 3.0, allowing developers to create solutions that build on Microsoft Office 2007. Developers can even create Office 2007-type applications, complete with the Ribbon control. And there was the requisite Silverlight demo, of course.