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Comparison of Windows Server 2003 Editions

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

 

The following table describes features supported by the Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 operating system, and illustrates which editions of the operating system support which features.

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Category

Feature and Description

Standard Edition

Enterprise Edition

Datacenter Edition

Web Edition

Hardware Specifications

64-bit Support for Intel Itanium-based Computers(1)

Support for 64-bit processing delivers far higher scalability than 32-bit file servers by providing a greatly enlarged virtual address space and paged pool area, the ability to handle increased numbers of users and connections, and increased hardware reliability through predictive error checking and notification of failures.

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Hardware Specifications

Hot Add Memory(2, 3)

Hot Add Memory allows ranges of memory to be added to a computer and made available to the operating system and applications as part of the normal memory pool. This does not require rebooting the computer and involves no downtime. This feature only operates on servers that have hardware support for adding memory while the server is operating. Most existing servers do not have such hardware support and can be damaged if memory is installed while the power is on. It is recommended that you consult your server operator's manual for more information.

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Hardware Specifications

Non-Uniform Memory Access(3)

As processor clock rates continue to increase and put pressure on processor bus architectures, scaling is addressed by implementing multiple processor buses. This can result in an architecture consisting of processors and memory arranged in smaller subsystems called nodes. Processor access time to memory in other nodes is longer than access time to memory in the same node. This results in Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) across the system. The longer access times to other nodes can degrade software performance. The operating system attempts to limit degradation by scheduling threads from the same process on processors that are in the same node, and allocating all memory requests within the same node as the processor making the request. In addition, an API is included to make NUMA architecture information available to application software. These features ensure that memory accesses are local to a node wherever possible, and limit software degradation caused by the NUMA architecture.

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Hardware Specifications

Datacenter Program

The Datacenter Program provides customers with an integrated hardware, software, and service offering, delivered by Microsoft and qualified server vendors such as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

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Hardware Specifications

2-GB RAM Maximum

RAM facilitates improved system scalability and performance. The more RAM added to a server beyond minimum requirements, the more memory available for applications to use. Designed for building and hosting Web applications, Web pages, and XML Web services, Windows Server 2003, Web Edition supports new systems with up to 2 GB of RAM.

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Hardware Specifications

4-GB RAM Maximum

RAM facilitates improved system scalability and performance. The more RAM added to a server beyond minimum requirements, the more memory available for applications to use. Designed for small organizations and departmental use, Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition supports new systems with up to 4 GB of RAM.

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Hardware Specifications

32-GB RAM Maximum

RAM facilitates improved system scalability and performance. The more RAM added to a server beyond minimum requirements, the more memory available for applications to use. Designed for demanding enterprise applications, Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition supports new systems with up to 32 GB of RAM.

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Hardware Specifications

64-GB RAM Maximum(4)

RAM facilitates improved system scalability and performance. The more RAM added to a server beyond minimum requirements, the more memory available for applications to use. Designed for mission-critical applications, the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition supports up to 64 GB of RAM on x86-based computers. The 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition supports systems with up to 64 GB of RAM.

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Hardware Specifications

512-GB RAM Maximum(5)

RAM facilitates improved system scalability and performance. The more RAM added to a server beyond minimum requirements, the more memory available for applications to use. The 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition supports systems with up to 512 GB of RAM.

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Hardware Specifications

2-Way Symmetric Multiprocessing

The Windows Server 2003 family supports single or multiple CPUs that conform to the symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) standard. Using SMP, the operating system can run threads on any available processor, which makes it possible for applications to use multiple processors when additional processing power is required to increase the capability of a system. New features include SMP locking performance, improved registry performance, and increased Terminal Server sessions. Designed for building and hosting Web applications, Web pages, and XML Web services, Windows Server 2003, Web Edition supports new systems with up to two-way SMP.

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Hardware Specifications

4-Way Symmetric Multiprocessing

The Windows Server 2003 family supports single or multiple CPUs that conform to the symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) standard. Using SMP, the operating system can run threads on any available processor, which makes it possible for applications to use multiple processors when additional processing power is required to increase the capability of a system. New features include SMP locking performance, improved registry performance, and increased Terminal Server sessions. Designed for small organizations and departmental use, Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition supports new systems with up to four-way SMP.

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Hardware Specifications

8-Way Symmetric Multiprocessing

The Windows Server 2003 family supports single or multiple CPUs that conform to the symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) standard. Using SMP, the operating system can run threads on any available processor, which makes it possible for applications to use multiple processors when additional processing power is required to increase the capability of a system. New features include SMP locking performance, improved registry performance, and increased Terminal Server sessions. Designed for demanding enterprise applications, Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition supports new systems with up to eight-way SMP. This includes the 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition.

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Hardware Specifications

32-Way Symmetric Multiprocessing

The Windows Server 2003 family supports single or multiple CPUs that conform to the symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) standard. Using SMP, the operating system can run threads on any available processor, which makes it possible for applications to use multiple processors when additional processing power is required to increase the capability of a system. New features include SMP locking performance, improved registry performance, and increased Terminal Server sessions. Designed for mission-critical applications, Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition supports new systems with 8-way to 32-way SMP. This includes the 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition.

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Hardware Specifications

64-Way Symmetric Multiprocessing

The Windows Server 2003 family supports single or multiple CPUs that conform to the symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) standard. Using SMP, the operating system can run threads on any available processor, which makes it possible for applications to use multiple processors when additional processing power is required to increase the capability of a system. New features include SMP locking performance, improved registry performance, and increased Terminal Server sessions. Designed for mission-critical applications, Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition supports new systems with up to 64-way SMP. The support for over 32 processors is only available with the 64-bit edition of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition.

Microsoft also offers a 128-way SKU for Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition so Windows can run on a 128-processor computer. However, the largest partition supported would be 64 processors.

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Directory Services

Active Directory® Directory Service

Active Directory is the directory service for Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. It stores information about objects on the network and makes this information easy for administrators and users to find and use. Active Directory uses a structured data store as the basis for a logical, hierarchical organization of directory information.

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Directory Services

Microsoft Identity Integration Server Support

Microsoft Identity Integration Server (MIIS) is a centralized service that stores and integrates identity information from multiple directories in an organization. The goal of this metadirectory is to provide an organization with a unified view of all known identity information about users, applications, and network resources. A metadirectory solves important business issues that result from having information stored in multiple, disparate data repositories throughout an organization. MIIS is available via Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) or via an MIIS partner engagement.

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Security Services

Internet Connection Firewall

Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) provides Internet security in the form of a firewall. Designed for use in the home and small business, ICF provides protection on computers directly connected to the Internet. This feature is available for LAN or dial-up networks, virtual private networks (VPNs), and Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) connections. It also prevents scanning of ports and resources (such as file and printer shares) from external sources.

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Security Services

Public Key Infrastructure, Certificate Services, and Smart Cards

By using Certificate Services and certificate management tools, you can deploy your own public key infrastructure (PKI). With a PKI, you can implement standards-based technologies, such as smart card logon capabilities, client authentication through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS), secure e-mail, digital signatures, and secure connectivity using Internet Protocol security (IPSec). By using Certificate Services, you can set up and manage certification authorities (CAs) that issue and revoke X.509 v3 certificates. This means that you do not have to depend on commercial client authentication services, although you can integrate commercial client authentication into your PKI if you choose.

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Terminal Services

Remote Desktop for Administration

With Remote Desktop for Administration (formerly known as Terminal Services in Remote Administration mode), you can administer a computer from virtually any computer on your network. Based on Terminal Services technology, Remote Desktop for Administration is specifically designed for server management.

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Terminal Services

Terminal Server

Terminal Server lets you deliver Windows-based applications — or the Windows desktop itself — to virtually any computing device, including those that cannot run Windows. For example, a user can access a virtual Windows XP Professional desktop and x86-based Windows applications from hardware that cannot run the software locally. Terminal Server provides this capability for both Windows-based and non–Windows-based client devices. When a user runs an application on Terminal Server, all of the application execution takes place on the server, and only keyboard, mouse, and display information traverses the network.

Note

  • Terminal Server mode is not included on computers running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition; however, Remote Desktop for Administration is available on Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

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Terminal Services

Terminal Server Session Directory

Terminal Server Session Directory allows users to easily reconnect to a disconnected session in a load-balanced Terminal Server farm. Session Directory is compatible with the Windows Server 2003 Network Load Balancing service, and is supported by third-party external load-balancer products from manufacturers such as F5 Networks (formerly F5 Labs) and Radware.

Note

  • The Session Directory Service runs on all editions of Windows Server 2003; however, to participate in a Session Directory, the server must be running Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition or Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (including the 64- bit editions of the Windows Server 2003 family).

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Clustering Technologies

Network Load Balancing

Previously known as Windows NT Load Balancing Service (WLBS), Network Load Balancing distributes incoming TCP/IP traffic among multiple servers. Your clustered applications, especially Web server applications, can handle more traffic, provide higher availability, and provide faster response times.

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Clustering Technologies

Cluster Service

A cluster is a group of independent computers, called nodes, that work together to run a common set of applications and provide high availability. If one node on the cluster fails, the application can be failed over to the next node. Server clusters of up to eight nodes are available only in Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition.

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Communications and Networking Services

Virtual Private Network Support

You can give users ready access to your organization's network even when they are out of the office — and reduce the cost of this access — by implementing a virtual private network (VPN). The VPN connection creates a secure tunnel across the Internet into the private network. There are two types of VPN technologies in the Windows Server 2003 family: Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), which employs user-level Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) authentication methods and Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPEE) for data encryption; and Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) with Internet Protocol security (IPSec). L2TP employs user-level PPP authentication methods and computer-level certificates with IPSec for data encryption. On Windows Server 2003, Web Edition and Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, you can create up to 100 PPTP ports and up to 100 L2TP ports. However, Windows Server 2003, Web Edition, can accept only one VPN connection at a time. Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, can accept up to 1,000 concurrent VPN connections via the ports. If 1,000 VPN clients are connected, further connection attempts are denied until the number of connections falls below 1,000. Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition support unlimited concurrent users.

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Communications and Networking Services

Internet Authentication Service

Internet Authentication Service (IAS) is the Microsoft implementation of a Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS) server and proxy. As a RADIUS server, IAS performs centralized connection authentication, authorization, and accounting for many types of network access including wireless, authenticating switch, and remote access dial-up and virtual private network (VPN) connections. As a RADIUS proxy, IAS forwards authentication and accounting messages to other RADIUS servers. You can configure IAS in Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, with a maximum of 50 RADIUS clients and a maximum of 2 remote RADIUS server groups. With IAS in Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, you can configure an unlimited number of RADIUS clients and remote RADIUS server groups. In addition, you can configure RADIUS clients by specifying an IP address range.

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Communications and Networking Services

Network Bridge

Network Bridge provides an easy way for you to connect different LAN segments, allowing users to bridge connections between different computers and devices on their network, even when they connect to the network through different methods. Network bridge is supported in Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition and Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition.

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Communications and Networking Services

Internet Connection Sharing

By using the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) feature of Network Connections, you can connect your home network or small office network to the Internet. For example, you might have a home network that connects to the Internet through a dial-up connection. By enabling ICS on the computer that uses the dial-up connection, you can provide network address translation (NAT), addressing, and name resolution services for all the computers on your network.

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Communications and Networking Services

IPv6

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a suite of Internet standard protocols that will become the next generation of network layer protocols for the Internet. IPv6 is designed to solve many of the problems of the current version of IP (known as IPv4) with regard to address depletion, security, autoconfiguration, extensibility, and more.

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File and Print Services

Distributed File System

Distributed File System (DFS) is enhanced for Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition by allowing multiple DFS roots on a single server. You can use this feature to host multiple DFS roots on a single server, reducing administrative and hardware costs of managing multiple namespaces and multiple replicated namespaces. Using Active Directory, DFS shares can be published as volume objects and administration can be delegated. Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition supports only one DFS root. DFS is partially supported in Windows Server 2003, Web Edition, where it is possible to access DFS files and act as a node in DFS tree, but only 10 concurrent incoming server message block (SMB) connections are permitted.

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File and Print Services

Encrypting File System

Encrypting File System (EFS) complements other access controls and provides an additional level of protection for your data. EFS runs as an integrated system service on all disks (including clustered disks), making it easy to manage, difficult to attack, and transparent to the user.

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File and Print Services

Shadow Copies for Shared Folders

Shadow Copy Restore (Previous Versions) provides point-in-time copies for network folders. Users can easily access previous versions of their files through Windows Explorer by right-clicking a file or folder.

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File and Print Services

Removable Storage

Removable Storage makes it easy to track your removable storage media (tapes and optical discs) and to manage the hardware libraries (such as changers and jukeboxes) that contain them. Because removable optical discs and tapes are less expensive per megabyte than hard disks, Removable Storage and Remote Storage can decrease your costs.

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File and Print Services

Remote Storage

Remote Storage uses criteria that you specify to automatically copy little-used files to removable media. If hard disk space drops below specified levels, Remote Storage removes the cached file content from the disk. If the file is needed later, the content is automatically recalled from storage. Remote Storage now supports migration to magneto-optical media. Remote Storage is not available in Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition or Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

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File and Print Services

Fax Service

Fax Service lets users send and receive faxes by using a modem or a fax board. You can also send faxes by using your network. You can print to fax from any application, send a cover page, and track and monitor fax activity. New wizards simplify configuration and fax sending. Also, developers can write applications using the new fax APIs to automatically send faxes from their applications.

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File and Print Services

Services for Macintosh

Services for Macintosh provides Macintosh users with access to files stored on a computer running Windows Server 2003. The file server is accessible over TCP/IP networks and over AppleTalk networks. Print services allow Macintosh clients to print to Windows NT or Windows 2000–based print shares via the AppleTalk protocol. In addition to the print server, there is a 300 dpi PostScript RIP engine that allows Macintosh-generated PostScript print jobs to be sent to non-PostScript printers, such as inkjet printers.

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Management Services

IntelliMirror® Management Technologies

To help reduce costs, administrators need high levels of control over portable and desktop systems. IntelliMirror management technologies provide this control on client systems running Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional. You can use IntelliMirror to define policies based on business roles, group memberships, and locations. With these policies, Windows 2000 Professional desktops and Windows XP Professional desktops are automatically reconfigured to meet a specific user's requirements each time that user logs on to the network, regardless of where the user logs on.

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Management Services

Group Policy Results

Group Policy Results allows administrators to see the effect a Group Policy setting has on a targeted user or computer. Included in the Group Policy Management Console, Group Policy Results provides administrators with a powerful and flexible base-level tool to plan, monitor, and troubleshoot Group Policy.

Group Policy Results uses Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), making the information available to administrators via the console and directly to other management applications via WMI.

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Management Services

Windows Management Instrumentation Command Line

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) provides unified access to the management functions of local and remote systems. By adding command-line access to WMI, administrators can directly access these management functions and create queries based on this data. You can monitor local and remote Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP systems directly, to view results through the command line or to retrieve the management data in XML format and processed into built-in or custom XSL output formats. WMI follows the specifications of the industry-standard Common Information Model (CIM) defined by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).

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Management Services

Remote OS Installation

Remote OS Installation uses Group Policy, Remote Installation Services, and Pre-Boot eXecution Environment (PXE) server hardware to re-image a server with a clean install of a Windows Server 2003–based environment. This feature can also be used to re-image Windows 2000 and Windows XP desktops.

Administrators can use Remote OS Installation and IntelliMirror together to simplify the task of exchanging or bringing new computers into the network environment:

  • Remote OS Installation can establish a full initial working set image directly to the computer hardware.

  • IntelliMirror can restore policy-based settings for data, settings, and software use.

Used together with IntelliMirror or on its own, Remote OS Installation can increase the efficiency of computer management in your organization while simplifying the task of maintaining corporate-standard environments on Windows-based servers and desktops.

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Management Services

Remote Installation Services

You can use Remote Installation Services (RIS) to create automated installation images of operating systems or of complete computer configurations. You can then make these installation images available to users at client computers. You can also specify which RIS server will provide installations to a given client computer. The client computers must support remote booting with the Pre-Boot eXecution Environment (PXE) ROM, or they must be started with a remote-startup floppy disk.

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Management Services

Windows System Resource Manager

Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM) provides resource management and enables the allocation of resources, including processor and memory resources, among multiple processes based on business priorities. An administrator sets targets for the amount of hardware resources that running applications or users (typically in a Terminal Server environment) are allowed to consume. It also creates utilization accounting records for management, service level agreement (SLA) tracking, and enabling charge-backs.

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.NET Application Services

.NET Framework(2)

The .NET Framework enables your developers to create great Web applications with the help of ASP.NET and other technologies. It also helps them build the same type of applications they design and develop today. The .NET Framework is language-neutral; virtually any programming language can target it. Developers can build .NET-based applications and services in a number of languages, including Visual C++, Visual Basic .NET, JScript, and Visual C#. Integrated into the Windows Server 2003 family, the .NET Framework is the infrastructure for .NET. The .NET Framework incorporates the common language runtime and a unified set of class libraries that include Windows Forms, ADO.NET, ASP.NET, and other capabilities. The .NET Framework provides a fully managed, protected, and feature-rich application execution environment, simplified development and deployment, and seamless integration with a wide variety of programming languages.

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.NET Application Services

Internet Information Services 6.0

Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 is a full-featured Web server that provides the foundation for the Windows Server 2003 family and existing Web-based applications and XML Web services. IIS 6.0 offers dedicated application mode, which runs all application code in an isolated environment. IIS 6.0 also supports Web gardens, in which a set of equivalent processes on a computer each receive a share of the requests normally served by a single process, achieving better multiprocessor scalability.

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.NET Application Services

ASP.NET(2)

ASP.NET is the engine for Web-based applications and XML Web services. It brings rapid application development to the server. Part of the class library in the .NET Framework, ASP.NET pages use a compiled, event-driven programming model that improves performance and enables the separation of application logic and user interface.

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.NET Application Services

Enterprise UDDI Services

Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) is an industry specification for publishing and locating information about Web services. Some products in the Windows Server 2003 family include UDDI Services, a Web service that provides UDDI capabilities for use within an enterprise or across organizations. UDDI Services is not included with Windows Server 2003, Web Edition. In addition, Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, supports only stand-alone installations of UDDI Services. Distributed installation support is available with Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. In a stand-alone installation of UDDI Services, both the UDDI Web server component and the UDDI database component are installed on a single server. In a distributed installation, UDDI components are distributed across multiple servers.

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Multimedia Services

Windows Media® Services

Windows Media Services provide streaming audio and video over corporate intranets and the Internet. In Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, Windows Media Services delivers advanced streaming functionality such as multicasting, wireless network support, Internet authentication, server plug-ins, and cache/proxy APIs.

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(1) Applies to 64-bit versions only.

(2) Not supported in 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003.

(3) Might be limited by lack of support by OEM hardware.

(4) Both the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition and the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition support up to 64 GB of RAM.

(5) The 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition supports up to 512 GB of RAM.

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