As test versions of the new WinFS file system were released this week, Microsoft said the technology would not be ready for the so-called “Longhorn Server” release, due in 2007.

While the company announced almost a year ago it was dropping WinFS from the desktop Vista release, Iain McDonald, director of Windows Server Group, has confirmed the file system will not ship with the server release scheduled for 2007 despite earlier promises.

-It just wasn’t ready. It will release but we’re much better off taking a slow burn approach rather than forcing it to change the world on day one,” McDonald told Builder AU in an interview.

The file system promises to bridge traditional relational data, objects, and XML, making it easier for data to be indexed and searchable.

When it does finally ship WinFS will likely be an add-on to Windows much as Microsoft ships its .Net Framework today. Developers can write programs that require .Net, but either individual users have to download the necessary framework code or businesses can install it when they give their machines to workers.

CNET’s Mike Ricciuti contributed to this report. Brendon Chase travelled to Queensland as a guest of Microsoft.