Professor Windows - January 2006
R2 - Better than C3-PO
Professor Windows is a periodical column designed to provide insight into how IT Professionals can make the most of the Windows family of operating systems.
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 is an update to the Windows Server 2003 operating system that includes a lot of new stuff worth investigating. It is built on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1), so it takes advantage of the stability and security of the SP1 code base, while offering enhanced features for branch offices, file servers, and mixed environment interoperability.
You can find more information about Windows Server 2003 R2 on the Windows Server TechCenter .
The long list of goodies in Windows Server 2003 R2 includes the following:
Disk and File Management Features
- File Server Management Console
- File Server Resource Manager
- Microsoft Services for Network File System
- Storage Management for SANs
- Common Log File System (CLFS)
- Distributed File System (DFS)
- Print Management
Active Directory Directory Service Updates
- Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM)
- Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS)
- Server for NIS
- Password Synchronization
- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (SUA)
- Windows Remote Management
- Administration Tools Pack
- Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0
- Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
- Windows Sharepoint Services
In this article, I will discuss the general overview of installing Windows Server 2003 R2 and a closer look at each of the goodies listed above.
Installing R2 - 2 for 1!
The R2 release comes on two product CDs. The first CD contains Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1). The second CD contains the components specific to Windows Server 2003 R2. Both CDs use the same Product Key for verification. You can install Windows Server 2003 R2 either locally, from the product CDs, or from your network. For detailed information about installing R2, see "Installing and Upgrading to Windows Server 2003 R2 ."
The biggest gotcha to be aware of when installing Windows Server 2003 R2 is that you are not actually installing the individual components; instead, you are installing the source files so that you can then install individual components by using Add or Remove Programs, Manage Your Server (MYS) or Configure Your Server (CYS).
In addition to being able to upgrade Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2003 R2, you can also upgrade from the following operating systems:
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 5 or later
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, with Service Pack 5 or later
- Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
Take Me to Your TechCenter
The new Windows Server 2003 TechCenter reduces the time and effort it takes for you to find the information you need to plan, deploy, and operate your systems. The technical documentation for Windows Server 2003 is vast and varied. To reduce noise and help you find the right content at the right time, the TechCenter provides the following:
- A single portal for Windows Server 2003 technical documentation.
- Search scoped to only the Windows Server technical library.
- Search filters and navigation by Windows Server technology and IT Pro lifecycle task, enabling IT Pros to quickly drill down to the specific areas for which they need information.
- Key and timely documentation highlighted on home pages and technology portal pages.
To check out the latest Windows Server 2003 R2 information, visit the Windows Server TechCenter .
A Closer Look at R2
Disk and File Management Features
Windows Server 2003 R2 includes the following storage and file management features:
- File Server Management Console - This MMC console provides a centralized tool for managing your file server. The default view provides you information on a list of tasks that can be performed from the console. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57758 .
- File Server Resource Manager (FSRM) - With this MMC snap-in, you can place quotas on folders and volumes, screen and block certain files that you do not want stored on your server, and generate storage reports to help you better understand your disk usage. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57761 .
- Microsoft Services for Network File System (NFS) - These tools let users transfer files between Windows Server 2003 R2- and UNIX-based computers by using the Network File System (NFS) protocol. Your company might have UNIX clients accessing resources, such as files, on UNIX file servers. If you want to take advantage of features in Windows Server 2003 R2 such as Shadow Copies for Shared Folders, you can migrate resources from your UNIX servers to computers running Windows Server 2003 R2. Then you can set up Microsoft Services for NFS and enable UNIX clients that are running NFS software to access these computers. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57759 .
- Storage Manager for SANs - This snap-in simplifies the creation and management of LUNs on both fibre channel and iSCSI disk drive subsystems in your storage area network (SAN). You can use Storage Manager for SANs to create and assign LUNs, manage connections between LUNs and the servers in your SAN, and set the security properties for iSCSI storage subsystems. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57760 .
- Common Log File System (CLFS) - Under the covers, CLFS provides kernel- or user-mode applications with a robust logging subsystem. CLFS is a unique Windows technology that can be used to develop applications and middleware that depend on durably writing and reading sequential data. Examples include replication agents, auditing agents, databases, and other transactional resource managers. For more information about CLFS, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57829 .
R2 can simplify how you manage a variety of activities and tasks in branch offices. Updates to branch office technologies include:
- Print Management - This MMC snap-in can be used to centrally view and manage printers and print servers in your organization, as well as to push printer connections to clients by using Group Policy. Print Management can be used from any computer running Windows Server 2003 R2, and you can manage all network printers on print servers running Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2003 R2. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57763 .
- DFS Management snap-in - The DFS Management snap-in manages the two technologies in the Distributed File System solution: DFS Namespaces and DFS Replication. Together, you can use these technologies to collect and distribute data and for loose collaboration (use Windows SharePoint Services when users must collaborate closely on the same set of files). For more information about DFS Management, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57762 .
- DFS Namespaces - You can create a namespace to group shared folders located on different servers and present them to users as a virtual tree of folders. A namespace provides numerous benefits, including increased availability of data, load sharing, simplified data migration, and a more logical hierarchy of shares. For more information about creating and managing namespaces, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57830 .
- DFS Replication - A new multimaster replication engine reliably synchronizes folders on multiple servers. DFS Replication uses a new compression algorithm known as remote differential compression (RDC) that replicates changed portions of files when possible. This minimizes network usage over limited-bandwidth network connections such as a Wide Area Network (WAN) connections. For more information about configuring and managing DFS replication, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57831 .
Active Directory Updates
R2 includes significant updates for identify and access management:
- Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) - ADAM is a standalone version of the Active Directory directory service that lets you store and retrieve directory information without involving domains or domain controllers. This allows you to deploy directory-enabled applications such as Web-based e-commerce systems separately from your network infrastructure. This offers more flexibility in how and where you can deploy the application and does not require you to ask your domain administrators for support or changes to the domain schema. For more information about ADAM, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57764 .
- Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) - These tools give users the benefits of a single sign-on (SSO) experience when accessing resources that are managed using Windows Server 2003 R2. ADFS works by managing security for sharing digital identity and entitlement rights across security boundaries, such as when users access computers located in separate Active Directory forests or across the Web. For more information about ADFS, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57765 .
For improved interoperability with UNIX, the following features are available in Windows Server 2003 R2:
- Server for NIS - If your network relies on UNIX-based Network Information Service (NIS) servers, you can integrate Windows-based servers and UNIX-based NIS servers by installing Server for NIS on your Windows-based Active Directory domain controllers. Server for NIS enables an Active Directory domain controller to act as a master NIS server for one or more NIS domains, by storing your NIS maps in Active Directory. You can easily create, modify, and delete user accounts for Windows and UNIX domains at the same time. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57766 .
- Password Synchronization - Your network includes both UNIX-based hosts and Windows-based computers, but you want to streamline user access to these diverse resources with a security-oriented, single sign-on solution. What can you use? Password Synchronization integrates Windows- and UNIX-based servers by simplifying the process of maintaining secure passwords. With Password Synchronization, your users don't need to maintain separate passwords for their Windows and UNIX accounts, or remember to change their passwords wherever they are used. Password Synchronization can synchronize passwords on stand-alone Windows-based computers (such as computers running Windows 2000 Server that do not belong to a domain) or for an entire Windows domain. Similarly, Password Synchronization can be used to manage passwords on individual UNIX hosts or on all computers in a Network Information Service (NIS) domain. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57767 .
- Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (SUA) - You love Windows Server, but sometimes, you want the no-nonsense efficiency of working with shell commands. Whether you're a programmer or a system administrator, Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications and its accompanying utilities provide you with the tools you need, in an environment that resembles any other UNIX system. SUA also includes case-sensitive file names, job control, compilation tools, and the use of over 300 UNIX commands, utilities and shell scripts. You can make your UNIX applications fully interoperable with Windows in SUA with little or no change to your original source code. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57768 .
Managing remote servers presents some unique challenges. Whether it is managing servers from a desktop machine or trying to monitor hardware across a firewall. Windows Server 2003 R2 helps you overcome some of these challenges by including several features geared towards making it easier to manage your servers.
- Administration Tools Packs - To make the remote management of your servers easier, you can install the Administration Tools Packs for Windows on a computer running Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (SP2). The packs are located on Disc 2 in the \mgmttls folder. One thing to note is that you must first install the MMC 3.0 Administration Tools Pack before installing the Windows Server 2003 R2 tools. For specific installation instructions, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57832 .
- Windows Remote Management (WinRM) - Manage server hardware remotely across firewalls and monitor conditions on servers that are offline. For more information about hardware management, see "Hardware Management in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2" at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=45204 .
- Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 - Hosts MMC snap-ins and provides improved error handling, support for snap-ins written in .NET managed code, and a new Action Pane that lists tasks that are available based on the current selection.
- Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 - Provides support for applications and services written for .NET Framework 2.0. The .NET Framework 2.0 is focused on delivering developer productivity, operational excellence, and the ability to preserve and enhance existing software investments. Core enhancements include support for 64-bit processors for increased performance and scalability, transactional enhancements and optimizations, productivity improvements in ASP.NET, and support for WS-I BP 1.1 and SOAP 1.2 with Web Services. For a comprehensive list of the new .NET Framework 2.0 features, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=50322 .
- Windows SharePoint Services - Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services is an integrated portfolio of collaboration and communication services designed to connect people, information, processes, and systems both within and beyond the organizational firewall. You can use Windows SharePoint Services to host Document Workspaces for collaborating on documents from within Microsoft Office, or create a team site where users can check out documents and create a central repository for documents and lists. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=45560 ; to download additional Windows SharePoint Services application templates, see (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=57923 ).
There is a wealth of information on the Microsoft Web site that can help you evaluate and plan how to best take advantage of the new features included in Windows Server 2003 R2. It is worth taking a closer look if you are interested in enhanced storage options, improvements to access and identity management, simplified branch office maintenance and easier interoperability with your existing UNIX servers.
- Windows Server TechCenter
- The Windows Server 2003 R2 Product Web site
- Windows Server 2003 R2 FAQ
- Windows Server 2003 Community Web site
About the Author
Cynthia Nottingham is a technical writing lead on the Windows Server User Assistance team. Her team of ingenious technical writers and editors is responsible for providing documentation for file and storage services, system recovery and performance management. When she is not at work, she enjoys herding cats with her husband and son in the City of Destiny.
By the way, I had help writing this article. I would not be in good terms with them if I didn't at least mention their names - so here goes: Thanks goes to Trina Himmelman, Brad Mahugh, Jim Groves, Nick Pierson, Felipe Ayora, Jason Gerend, Gaby Kaplan, Scott Turnbull, Pilar Ackerman, Kate O'Leary, and Althea Champagnie.
For a list and additional information on all Professor Windows columns, click here .
For any feedback regarding the content of this column, please write to Microsoft TechNet . Please be aware that this is not a technical support alias and a response is not guaranteed.