Microsoft has pushed its Windows Server 8 operating system into its first beta build.
The company said that the server platform would now be open for developers and administrators to download and test in advance of the general release.
While the company has declined to give a formal release date for the platform, Server 8 is believed to be targeted for late this year or early 2013.
Microsoft introduced the platform last year at the Build conference, noting that Server 8 would combine components of its current server platform with elements of the Windows Azure cloud offering.
In a company blog post, Microsoft server and cloud corporate vice president Bill Laing said that the Server 8 platform would bring a renewed focus on the storage space as well as improved support for virtualisation platforms.
"In Windows Server 8 we are delivering high availability and disaster recovery through software technology on much more cost-effective hardware," Laing explained.
"We are also delivering a tremendous amount of new capabilities for multi-machine management and automation."
Laing also said that the release would bring improvements to its .Net platform and the addition of the PowerShell command interface.
Developers and administrators can obtain the Windows Server 8 beta release from Microsoft's download site.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago