The release of Windows Server 2003 is a small step forward for the platform—an effort that really should be considered Windows 2000 Server Second Edition. With the exception of Internet Information Services 6.0, there arent any far-reaching or fundamental changes in the product.
Organizations that like how Windows 2000 Server is working for them will find more to like in the new release; those that arent already using Windows Server wont see many new reasons to consider the platform.
Based on eWEEK Labs tests, what organizations will find is a version of Windows 2000 Server that has benefited from three years of field exposure and fine-tuning, plus a few nice add-ons, such as a UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) server and automatic file backups accessible via a new client-side Windows Explorer plug-in.
For IIS users, the new, cheaper Web Edition of Windows Server will bring cost savings when expanding IIS Web farms, a competitive response to the low cost and maturity of Linux- and BSD-based Web servers. IIS adds a number of Unix-style playing cards to its hand in this release, including text-file-based configuration, much tighter security defaults, user-level instead of administrator-level privileges, and a kernel-mode HTTP request handler and cache.
Windows Server 2003 continues to impress in the areas where Windows 2000 Server excelled, including well-integrated management tools, documentation and directory integration.
The biggest accomplishment of Windows 2000 Server, in addition to Active Directory, was that it managed to, in large measure, set aside Windows reputation for instability. What Microsoft didnt overcome with 2000 was the platforms poor security reputation.
When Windows 2000 Server was released, there was also a lot of Microsoft talk about the greater security present in the product. Those claims, however, became almost laughable after the release of bulletin after bulletin warning against critical, system-level problems in the server. Leaving that legacy behind is the biggest challenge ahead for Windows Server 2003.
West Coast Technical Director Timothy Dyck is at email@example.com.
For more on Windows Server 2003, see our special section.