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Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems

In December 2005, Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2003 R2 were released, offering Active Directory, storage, and branch office enhancements for customers.

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Improvements to the Windows Server Operating SystemImprovements to the Windows Server Operating System
Server RolesServer Roles
Benefits of Windows Server 2003 Operating SystemsBenefits of Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems
Windows Server 2003 Core TechnologiesWindows Server 2003 Core Technologies
Feature PacksFeature Packs
What's in the Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems?What's in the Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems?

Improvements to the Windows Server Operating System

Windows Server 2003 includes all the functionality customers need today from a Windows Server operating system to do more with less, such as security, reliability, availability, and scalability. In addition, Microsoft has improved and extended the Windows server operating systems to incorporate the benefits of Microsoft .NET for connecting information, people, systems, and devices.

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Server Roles

Windows Server 2003 is a multipurpose operating system capable of handling a diverse set of server roles, depending on your needs, in either a centralized or distributed fashion. Some of these server roles include:

  • File and print server.
  • Web server and Web application services.
  • Mail server.
  • Terminal server.
  • Remote access and virtual private network (VPN) server.
  • Directory services, Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, and Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS).
  • Streaming media server.

This product overview explains the basics of the Windows Server 2003 operating systems and includes links to more detailed information.

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Benefits of Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems

Windows Server 2003 delivers four primary benefits:

Benefit Description
Dependable

Windows Server 2003 is the fastest, most reliable, most secure Windows server operating system ever offered by Microsoft. Windows Server 2003 delivers dependability by:

  • Providing an IT infrastructure that delivers fundamental value: improved reliability, better availability, and increased scalability.
  • Including an application platform with built-in traditional application server functionality on top of extensive operating system capabilities.
  • Integrating an information worker infrastructure that helps keep business information secure and accessible.
Productive

Windows Server 2003 provides the tools that simplify deployment, management, and administration and maximize productivity.
Windows Server 2003 does this by:

  • Providing flexible tools that help match your design and deployment to your organizational and network needs.
  • Helping you manage your network proactively by enforcing policy, automating tasks, and simplifying updates.
  • Helping you lower support overhead by letting users do more on their own.

Connected

 

Windows Server 2003 provides an extensible application platform for quickly building solutions that keep employees, partners, systems, and customers connected.

Windows Server 2003 does this by:

  • Providing an integrated Web server and streaming media server that helps you quickly, easily, and securely create dynamic intranet and Internet Web sites.
  • Providing built-in services that help you easily develop, deploy, and manage XML Web services.
  • Providing the tools that enable you to connect XML Web services to internal applications, suppliers, and partners.

Best Economics

 

When combined with products and services from the many Microsoft hardware, software, and channel partners, Windows Server 2003 provides the choices that help you get the greatest return on your infrastructure investments.

Windows Server 2003 does this by:

  • Providing ease-of-use and prescriptive guidance for complete solutions that enable you to quickly put technology to work.
  • Helping you consolidate servers by taking advantage of the latest hardware, software, and methodologies to optimize your server deployments.
  • Lowering your total cost of ownership (TCO) to realize a fast return on investment.

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Windows Server 2003 Core Technologies

Windows Server 2003 contains core technologies that build on the strengths of Windows 2000 Server to deliver a superior and cost-effective server operating system. Learn about the many new features and technologies that make Windows Server 2003 an ideal server platform for organizations of any size.

Dependable
Windows Server 2003 has the reliability, availability, scalability, and security that make it a highly dependable platform.

  • Availability.The Windows Server 2003 operating system provide improved availability through enhanced clustering support. Clustering services have become essential for organizations deploying critical e-commerce and line-of-business applications, because they provide significant improvements in availability, scalability, and manageability. Clustering installation and setup is easier and more robust in Windows Server 2003, while enhanced network features in the product provide greater failover capabilities and high system uptime. The Windows Server 2003 operating systems supports server clusters for up to eight nodes. If one of the nodes in a cluster becomes unavailable because of failure or maintenance, another node immediately begins providing service, a process known as failover. Windows Server 2003 also supports network load balancing (NLB), which balances incoming Internet Protocol (IP) traffic across nodes in a cluster.
  • Scalability. The Windows Server 2003 operating systems provide scalability through scale-up, enabled by symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), and scale-out, enabled by clustering. Internal tests indicate that compared to Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003 delivers up to 140 percent better performance in the file system and significantly better performance in various other features including the Microsoft Active Directory service, Web server and Terminal Server components, and networking services. Windows Server 2003 scales from single processor solutions all the way up to 64-way systems. It supports both 32-bit and 64-bit processors.
  • Security. Businesses have extended the traditional local area network (LAN) by combining intranets, extranets, and Internet sites. As a result, increased system security is now more critical than ever before. As part of the Microsoft commitment to reliable, secure, and dependable computing, the company has intensely reviewed the Windows Server 2003 operating systems to identify possible fail points and exploitable weaknesses. Windows Server 2003 provides many important new security features and improvements including:
    • The common language runtime. This software engine is a key element of Windows Server 2003 that improves reliability and helps ensure a safe computing environment. It reduces the number of bugs and security holes caused by common programming mistakes. As a result, there are fewer vulnerabilities for attackers to exploit. The common language runtime also verifies that applications can run without error and checks for appropriate security permissions, making sure that code performs only appropriate operations.
    • Internet Information Services 6.0. To increase Web server security, Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 is configured for maximum security out of the box. IIS 6.0 and Windows Server 2003 provide the most dependable, productive, connected, and integrated Web server solution with fault tolerance, requesting queuing, application health monitoring, automatic application recycling, caching, and more. These are among the many new features in IIS 6.0 that enable you to conduct business securely on the Web.

Productive
Windows Server 2003 has capabilities in numerous areas that can make your organization and employees more productive, including:

  • File and print services. At the heart of any IT organization is the ability to efficiently manage file and print resources while keeping them available and secure for users. As the network expands with more users located on-site, in remote locations, or even at partner companies, IT administrators face an increasingly heavy burden. The Windows Server 2003 operating systems deliver intelligent file and print services with increased performance and functionality, allowing you to reduce TCO.
  • Active Directory.   Active Directory is the directory service for the Windows Server 2003 operating systems. It stores information about objects on the network and makes this information easy for administrators and users to find, providing a logical, hierarchical organization of directory information. Windows Server 2003 brings many improvements to Active Directory, making it more versatile, dependable, and economical to use. In Windows Server 2003, Active Directory provides increased performance and scalability. It also allows you greater flexibility to design, deploy, and manage your organization's directory.
  • Management services. While computing has proliferated on desktops, laptops, and portable devices, the real cost of maintaining a distributed personal computer network has grown significantly. Reducing day-to-day maintenance through automation is key to reducing operating costs. Windows Server 2003 contains several important new automated management tools, including Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and server configuration wizards. Managing Group Policy is made easier with the new Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), enabling more organizations to better utilize the Active Directory service and take advantage of its powerful management features. In addition, command-line tools let administrators perform most tasks from the command console. GPMC is available as a separate component.
  • Storage management. Windows Server 2003 introduces new and enhanced features for storage management, making it easier and more reliable to manage and maintain disks and volumes, backup and restore data, and connect to storage area networks (SANs).
  • Terminal Services. The Terminal Services component of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 builds on the solid application server mode in Windows 2000 Terminal Services. Terminal Services let you deliver Windows-based applications, or the Windows desktop itself, to virtually any computing device—including those that cannot run Windows.

Connected
Windows Server 2003 contains new features and improvements to make sure your organization and users stay connected:

  • XML Web Services.   IIS 6.0 is an important component of Windows Server 2003. Administrators and Web application developers demand a fast, reliable Web platform that is both scalable and secure. Significant architectural improvements in IIS include a new process model that greatly improves reliability, scalability, and performance. IIS is installed by default in a locked-down state. Security is increased because the system administrator enables or disables system features based on application requirements. In addition, direct editing support of the XML metabase improves management.
  • Networking and communications.   Networking and communications has never been more critical for organizations faced with the challenge of competing in the global marketplace. Employees need to connect to the network wherever they are and from any device. Partners, vendors, and others outside the network need to interact efficiently with key resources, and security is more important than ever. Networking improvements and new features in the Windows Server 2003 operating systems extend the versatility, manageability, and dependability of network infrastructures.
  • Enterprise UDDI services. Windows Server 2003 includes Enterprise UDDI services, a dynamic and flexible infrastructure for XML Web Services. This standards-based solution enables companies to run their own internal UDDI service for intranet or extranet use. Developers can easily and quickly find and reuse the Web services available within the organization. IT administrators can catalog and manage the programmable resources in their network. With Enterprise UDDI services, companies can build and deploy smarter, more reliable applications.
  • Windows Media Services. Windows Server 2003 includes the industry's most powerful digital streaming media services. These services are part of the next version of the Microsoft Windows Media technologies platform that also includes a new Windows Media Player, Windows Media Encoder, audio/video codecs, and Windows Media Software Development Kit.

Best Economics
PC technology provides the most cost-effective chip platform, a considerable economic incentive for adopting Windows Server 2003. But that is only the beginning of the story. Windows Server 2003 provides the best economics for both scale-up and scale-out purposes and provides an IT infrastructure that runs 30 percent more efficiently. With multiple essential services and components already included in Windows Server 2003, organizations can quickly benefit from an integrated platform that is easy to deploy, manage, and use.

When you adopt Windows Server 2003, you become a part of the global network that has helped make the Windows platform so productive. This network of global services and support provides the following benefits:

  • Extensive ISV ecosystem. Microsoft has a large number of independent software vendors (ISVs) worldwide who support Microsoft applications and build certified custom applications on the Windows platform.
  • Worldwide services. Microsoft is supported by over 450,000 Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSEs) worldwide, plus vendors and partners.
  • Training options. Microsoft offers a wide range of IT training, enabling IT staff to continue developing their skills at a reasonable price.
  • Certified solutions. Windows has thousands of certified hardware drivers and software applications from third-party ISVs, making it easy to add new devices and applications. In addition, prescriptive guidance from Microsoft Solutions Offerings (MSOs) helps organizations build proven solutions that help solve difficult business challenges.

This ecosystem of products and services reduces TCO, helping your organization be more productive and efficient.

XML Web Services and Microsoft .NET. Microsoft .NET is deeply integrated into Windows Server 2003. The .NET Framework enables an unprecedented level of software integration using XML Web services: discrete, building-block applications that connect to each other—as well as to other, larger applications—via the Internet.

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Feature Packs

The following new or enhanced Windows Server 2003 components deliver targeted solutions at no additional charge. Available as downloads, these feature packs boost productivity and reduce costs for customers by easing server deployment, helping to safeguard digital information, enhancing file and information sharing, and more.

  • Automated Deployment Services. Windows Server 2003, Automated Deployment Services (ADS), is a powerful solution for rapidly deploying Windows server operating systems onto bare-metal servers across large, scaled-out installations. With support for script-based mass server administration, ADS also enables administrators to administer hundreds of servers as if they were one. ADS is an early deliverable of the Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI).
  • Identity Integration Feature Pack. Identity Integration Feature Pack (IIFP) 1a for Microsoft Windows Server Active Directory helps you reduce the cost of managing identity information. IIFP synchronizes identity information and allows you to easily provision and deprovision user accounts. Using IIFP, you can combine identity information for a given user or resource into a single, logical view. IIFP manages identities and coordinates user details across Microsoft Active Directory, Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM), Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server, and Exchange Server 2003 implementations.
  • Windows Rights Management Services. Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) for Windows Server 2003 is information protection technology that works with RMS-enabled applications to help safeguard digital information from unauthorized use—both online and offline, inside and outside of the firewall. Combining Windows Server 2003 features, developer tools, and industry security technologies—including encryption, certificates, and authentication—RMS helps organizations create reliable information protection solutions.
  • Windows SharePoint Services. Organizations can take file sharing and collaboration to a new level with Windows SharePoint Services, the new Web-based collaboration solution of Windows Server 2003. Windows SharePoint Services enables teams to create Web sites for information sharing and document collaboration, benefits that help increase individual and team productivity.

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What's in the Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems?

Windows Server 2003 includes the following products:

Product Description

Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition

 

Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition, is designed for departmental and standard workloads and delivers the following benefits:

  • Support for file and printer sharing.
  • More secure Internet connectivity.
  • Centralized desktop application deployment.

For more information about the 32-bit version, see the Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition, Overview.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition

 

Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition, is designed for departmental and standard workloads and delivers the following benefits:

  • Support for file and printer sharing.
  • More secure Internet connectivity.
  • Centralized desktop application deployment.

For more information about Standard x64 Edition, see the Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition, Overview.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition

 

Built for mission-critical server workloads, Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, is the platform of choice for applications, Web services, and infrastructure. Delivering high reliability, performance, and superior business value, Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, provides these benefits:

  • A full-function server operating system that supports up to 8 processors.
  • Enterprise-class features, such as eight-node clustering and support for up to 64 GB of memory.

For more information about the 32-bit version, see the Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, Overview.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition

 

Built for mission-critical server workloads, Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition, is the platform of choice for applications, Web services, and infrastructure. Delivering high reliability, performance, and superior business value, Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition, provides these benefits:

  • A full-function server operating system that supports up to 8 processors.
  • Support for AMD Opteron and AMD Athlon 64 processors, or Intel Xeon or Pentium 4 processors with EM64T.
  • Enterprise-class features, such as eight-node clustering and support for up to 1 TB of memory.

For more information about Enterprise x64 Edition, see Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition Overview.

Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems

 

Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based systems is intended for scale-up database and business applications requiring the highest levels of reliability, availability, and scalability. Benefits of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based systems include:

  • A full-function server operating system that supports up to 8 Itanium processors.
  • Enterprise-class features, such as eight-node clustering and support for up to 1 TB of memory.
  • Increased availability through support for Machine Check Architecture (MCA).

For more information about Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems, see Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems.

Windows Server 2003 R2, Datacenter Edition

 

Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition, is built for the highest levels of scalability and reliability. Only this platform offers the Datacenter High Availability Program of support and services. Benefits of Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition, include:

  • The most powerful and functional server operating system Microsoft has ever offered.
  • Support for up to 32-way SMP and 64 GB of RAM with the 32-bit version.
  • Both 8-node clustering and load balancing services as standard features.
  • Windows System Resource Manager to facilitate consolidation and system management.

For more information about the 32-bit version, see the Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition, Overview.

Windows Server 2003 Datacenter x64 Edition

 

Windows Server 2003 Datacenter x64 Edition, is built for the highest levels of scalability and reliability. Only this platform offers the Datacenter High Availability Program of support and services. Benefits of Windows Server 2003 Datacenter x64 Edition, include:

  • The most powerful and functional server operating system Microsoft has ever offered.
  • Support for up to 128-way machines with individual partitions of up to 64 processors and 1 TB of RAM with the 64-bit versions.
  • Both 8-node clustering and load balancing services as standard features.
  • Windows System Resource Manager to facilitate consolidation and system management.

For more information about Datacenter x64 Edition, see Windows Server 2003 R2, Datacenter x64 Edition.

Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition for Itanium-based Systems

 

Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition for Itanium-based systems, is built for the highest levels of scalability and reliability. Only this platform offers the Datacenter High Availability Program of support and services. Benefits of Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition for Itanium-based systems, include:

  • The most powerful and functional server operating system Microsoft has ever offered.
  • Support for up to 128-way machines with individual partitions of up to 64 processors and 1 TB of RAM.
  • Both 8-node clustering and load balancing services as standard features.

For more information about Datacenter Edition for Itanium-based Systems, see Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition for Itanium-based systems.

Windows Server 2003 Web Edition

 

A new product within the Windows operating systems, Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, offers dedicated Web serving and hosting as well as the following benefits:

  • A platform for building and hosting Web applications, Web pages, and XML Web Services.
  • A design intended for use primarily as an IIS 6.0 Web server.
  • A platform for rapidly developing and deploying XML Web services and applications that use ASP.NET technology, a key part of the .NET Framework.
  • Ease of deployment and management.

For more information, see the Windows Server 2003 Web Edition, Overview.

Windows Small Business Server 2003

 

Windows Small Business Server 2003 provides a complete business server solution for small businesses. The integrated suite of server products enables companies to share information and resources safely and securely.

  • Standard Edition includes Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, and Microsoft Shared Fax Service.
  • Premium Edition includes Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, Microsoft Shared Fax Service, Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server, Microsoft SQL Server 2000, and Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003.

For more information, see the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Web site.

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