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Launch event will help Microsoft partners sell Windows Server 2008

Microsoft will unveil its strategy for selling Windows Server 2008 next week in Los Angeles.

Most Microsoft partners have spent months, if not years, preparing to sell Windows Server 2008. For them, next week's "Heroes Happen Here" event and subsequent product launch tour are more about hearing Microsoft's pitch and spreading the word to customers.

Microsoft will officially launch Windows Server 2008, as well as SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, during the "Heroes Happen Here" event Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. CEO Steve Ballmer will give the keynote address, and Tom Brokaw will be the special guest speaker. There will also be product demonstrations and seminars specifically for partners and developers.

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"One thing I love about being a Microsoft partner is that we already have so much information on Server '08," said Dave Sobel, CEO of Evolve Technologies in Fairfax, Va. "They've been shouting about this for ages, so the launch for partners is a touch anticlimactic. Now it's about the customers hearing the message."

Sobel won't be going to Los Angeles but will attend the launch in Washington, D.C. -- one of 200 such events Microsoft is putting on worldwide from March through May. Rand Morimoto, president of Convergent Computing in Oakland, Calif., will attend the Los Angeles event. His company has already planned its strategy for selling Windows Server 2008, but he said he wants to make sure that aligns with Microsoft's campaign.

"We know the product, but it's always interesting to see what Microsoft is going to say about it," he said.

Morimoto and other Microsoft partners are expecting lots of success selling Windows Server 2008. Hyper-V -- Microsoft's new virtualization software that will be part of Windows Server 2008 -- has attracted most of the attention.

"There's a lot of folks who spent money for [Windows Server] 2003, and now it's time for those purchases to roll over," said Kevin Fream, CEO of Matrixforce in Tulsa, Okla. "Virtualization -- not having to spend all that money on VMware -- will be big."

Other features are also showing early returns for partners who have already begun selling Windows Server 2008, which released to marketing earlier this month.

"We have a lot of organizations who've been planning their migrations," he said. "We've been doing a lot of the security stuff, and the terminal services has been huge."

Windows Server 2008 security features include rights management security (RMS), certificate services and network access protection (NAP). Terminal services helps users manage branch offices and satellite locations.

While "Heroes" is being billed as a triple launch, in reality Visual Studio 2008 is already available and SQL Server 2008 delivery has slipped into the third quarter of the year.

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