Microsoft today gave its newest server software a name -- Windows Server 2012 -- and said it would release the operating system this year.

During the opening keynote at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2012 in Las Vegas, which runs through Friday, company officials slapped the name on the new software -- which previously had been dubbed Windows Server 8 -- and announced it would ship before the end of the year.

Neither was a surprise, as Microsoft traditionally tags its server-side software with a date designation -- unlike its client software -- and experts expected that the operating system would launch alongside Windows 8 for Intel-based desktops and laptops.

While Microsoft has not laid out a release schedule for the next iteration of Windows, most anticipate it will mimic that of Windows 7, which launched in October 2009, in time to make the holiday sales season.

Windows Server 2008 R2, the server edition that corresponded to Windows 7, went on sale at the same time as Windows 7, although the company began rolling it out to volume license customers in August 2009.