A lot of you have contacted me lately asking to get in on the Windows Server Code Name Cougar Beta program that we are hosting on MS Connect. Right now, we are at a level of participation that meet our goals for feedback. We are still taking applications for future releases of the beta of Cougar here. http://connect.microsoft.com/cougar. You can fill out the survey and when we get closer to our next milestone, we may be opening up the beta to a larger set of users. At that time, we will get in touch with you to see if you are still interested.
Just some insight on why me made a decision to start off with a smaller beta earlier on the development of Cougar... Often when teams run a beta, they have to balance the level of participation for feedback against other factors. I don't think that there is a software development team in the world that does not struggle with this. Some of the factors that we have to consider when determing the level of participation are; the need to keep the features of the future release of our product confidential in the early stages, we do not want the future release of our product to be a distraction to their purchasing decision, we do not want to let our competitors know too much about what we are doing, to name a few.
We also know that if we do not provide early enough access, our partners will be ill prepared to plan for the next release. We know that people need time to plan for a future release. So, a lot of thought and discussion has gone into this. So, we will do our best to provide as early a look as we can with future builds of Cougar. So, if you are interester, please go up to the link I mentioned earlier and register your interest.
Thanks a lot,
The roll continues!  EBS Japanese beta 2 was signed off today!  This is a significant milestone