Microsoft announced today that Windows Server "8" will be named Windows Server 2012 when it is released later this year. Dubbed as a "cloud-optimized" operating system, Windows Server 2012 is currently in the beta testing stage and an additional Release Candidate version is expected around June.
Windows Server 2012 will include Microsoft's new Resilient File System (ReFS) to handle large volumes, resiliency to corruption, and shared storage pools across machines. ReFS will only be available inside Windows Server 2012 initially, but Microsoft has plans to test it within the server edition and make it available to Windows 8 client users at a later date. Microsoft has also previously promised that the majority of applications that currently run on Windows Server 2008 and R2 "should work" on Windows Server 2012.
Microsoft's naming strategy for Windows Server 2012 and its indication of a release later this year all but confirms that Windows 8 will be available before the end of 2012. The company has a near identical development timeframe for both operating systems, with a beta copy of both released earlier this year at the same time. Microsoft confirmed this week that the company will ship Windows 8 in a trio of editions, including Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 Enterprise. Special local language-only editions of Windows 8 will also be released in select emerging markets like China. The big naming news of the week was the company's decision to name its ARM edition of Windows 8 as Windows RT. Known previously as Windows on ARM or WOA, the single edition will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets with ARM processors. Microsoft has not yet announced any intentions for an ARM Windows Server edition yet, despite some OEMs exploring ARM server options recently.