Microsoft Delays Windows Server vNext to 2016

Originally expected to ship alongside Windows 10 later in 2015, the next major Windows Server version has now been delayed by Microsoft until 2016. The software giant doesn’t provide a reason for the delay, but with more and more customers moving new infrastructure to the cloud, the need for another on-premises server is much less pressing than it was just a few years ago.

“As we continue to advance the development of Windows Server and System Center, we plan to release further previews through the remainder of 2015, with the final release in 2016,” a new posted credit to the Enterprise Cloud Team explains in Microsoft’s Server & Cloud Blog. “Our next preview is planned for the spring of 2015.”

Microsoft delivered the first and only preview release of Windows Server vNext simultaneously with the Windows 10 Technical Preview in October 2014. But while Windows 10 has since received several pre-release updates, including a major new Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 drop just last week, some were beginning to wonder what was going on with Windows Server vNext.

One theory is that Microsoft doesn’t want to confuse the messaging around the expiration of support for Windows Server 2003, which is set for July 14, 2015. Most businesses that are still using this ancient Windows Server version are in the midst of migrating to newer versions—ideally Windows Server 2012 R2. And it’s possible that some might decide to hold out for Windows Server vNext if it was set to arrive just a few months later.

My take on this is that three years has always been a fairly comfortable timeframe between Server releases. And with Windows Server 2012 barely 18 months old at this writing—it will be two years old, roughly, when Windows 10 ships—many businesses haven’t even started thinking about upgrading yet. Given the slow upgrade schedule at most enterprises, it just doesn’t make sense for these releases to ship so quickly.

In related news, Microsoft also revealed that the next version of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) will still ship at around the same time as Windows 10. This is arguably a more important release than Windows Server vNext since it explicitly supports Windows 10 device management.

Microsoft recommends that anyone interested in Windows Server vNext and the next System Center stay tuned to its Ignite conference in early May. But we’ve got you covered here on Petri already. Check out Aidan Finn’s New Features in Windows Server vNext and What’s New in Windows Server vNext Hyper-V for nice rundowns of what’s new in this release, and Russell Smith’s Could Windows 10 and Windows Server vNext End the Reliance on Passwords?, which examines Microsoft’s drive for more secure digital systems.