Late yesterday afternoon, Microsoft posted to their download site a Release Candidate (RC1) for the Notification Services Components Package. This is essentially the same package that was released back in February 2007, with one really major exception - it supports SQL Server 2008!
As one who has worked quite a bit with Notification Services (and still I received calls and emails from around the world regarding Notification Services), I'm very glad to see this. Not only because I'm glad to see a good feature persisted a bit longer, but because Microsoft stepped up and in my opinion made good on an implicit agreement that was entered into when SSNS was incorporated into SQL Server. A feature that some of us, not many I'll freely admit but some of us, used in good faith with the understanding that it would be available in at least one more product revision. And although this component release in no way incorporates SSNS into the SQL Server 2008 product, it does allow SSNS 2005 to be used with 2008.
I downloaded the redistribution late yesterday afternoon and I've read through most of the accompanying documentation, but I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet. Hopefully I'll carve some time out in the coming few days and I'll post my experiences.
While I understand Microsoft's reasons for not continuing with SSNS in the core product of SQL Server 2008, this component release provides an upgrade path and buys us some time as we look for alternative ways to fulfill similar requirements. Thank you, Microsoft.