On Friday, Microsoft revealed through a corporate blog that it will not deliver its next-generation storage engine, WinFS, as a separate product as previously planned. Instead, the software giant will ship WinFS technologies as part of other upcoming products, such as the next version of SQL Server, codenamed Katmai.
"We are not pursuing a separate delivery of WinFS, including the previously planned Beta 2 release," Quentin Clark, a member of the WinFS team, wrote in the WinFS Team Blog. "With most of our effort now working towards productizing mature aspects of the WinFS project into SQL and ADO.NET, we do not need to deliver a separate WinFS offering."
According to Clark, WinFS work is ongoing at Microsoft. All that's changing is the packaging: Instead of shipping a WinFS deliverable that users could install on client and server versions of Windows, mature WinFS technologies will be delivered in the near future, while less mature portions will come later.
This isn't the first major change to the WinFS schedule. Originally promised as part of Windows Vista, Microsoft last year delayed the WinFS release until Longhorn Server's 2007 launch, promising that it would be integrated with Windows at a later date. Now, it's unclear when or if that will happen. But Clark suggests that work will continue. "Windows will continue to adopt work as it's ready," he wrote. "We will continue working the innovations, and as things mature they will find their way into the right product experiences--Windows and otherwise."
Thanks to Steven Bink for tipping me off to this story.