For many organizations, the release of SP1 is also a reason to make the jump from the Windows 2000 Server operating system to Windows Server 2003. Fulton County, which has the largest county government in Georgia, for example, seized the service pack as an opportunity to upgrade almost 70 servers. As a member of Microsofts Technology Adoption Program, the county began participating in the beta program for SP1 in October 2003 and started testing the operating system with the service pack to support Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, a Research In Motion Ltd. BlackBerry Enterprise Server and a number of Microsoft Office servers.Mobley said the main advantage to deploying the operating system with the service pack was the ability to block peer-to-peer services. Fulton County provides governmental services to Atlanta and its surrounding communities. The county, which covers more than 529 square miles and provides services to more than 866,000 constituents, was hit in 2003 by the Blaster computer virus, which caused a 48-hour network outage. Smarting from the Blaster incident, county IT managers wanted to ensure that the network was safe from security breaches. In fact, Mobley said he was able to save a great deal in help desk calls and manpower with the deployment. "SP1 allows us to do with the servers what XP did at the desktop for preserving applications and securing them at the server level," Mobley said. "We were yearning for additional security because wed had a number of compromises during the last couple of years. Because those had hit us pretty badly, we felt that this was really something that was overdue." K2s Addington agrees that the security features in Windows Server 2003 SP1 reduce servers vulnerability to viruses and worms. K2 has 14 Dell Inc. PowerEdge 650 and 2650 servers running Windows Server 2003 with the update. Addington also installed SP1 with no problems on an older Compaq ProLiant server that had operated as the primary file server and is now running older legacy applications. K2 uses Windows Server 2003 with Active Directory to centrally manage and support desktops, Exchange Server 2003 and Office Outlook Web Access. While an application incompatibility associated with Exchange Server 2003 and Office Outlook Web Access has been reported by Microsoft, Addington said he hasnt run into that problem. "Security is more than just a buzzword around K2its a huge issue that we take very seriously. Beyond the additional features provided by Service Pack 1, the knowledge that were keeping as current as possible and closing as many holes as possible is absolutely invaluable for us," said Addington. Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at email@example.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Russell Mobley, Fulton County governments assistant director of IT, said that there were compatibility issues early on, but the issues were fixed by the time the county deployed Windows Server 2003 SP1 into production this year.