SP1 (Service Pack 1) is primarily a security update. But as was the case with XP SP2 (Service Pack 2), Windows Server 2003 SP1 also will include some brand-new features. SP1 is the foundation for Microsofts forthcoming 64-bit Windows Server 2003 releases. Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 SP1 to manufacturing at the end of March.
Last August, when Microsoft released XP SP2, more than 50 key third-party applications, custom applications and even a number of Microsofts own products broke when users attempted to run them on top of the XP update.
As a result of app-compatibility problems, a number of enterprise customers postponed installing SP2. To date, according to Microsoft and third-party estimates alike, about one-quarter of XP enterprise users have upgraded to SP2.
When SP1 went gold, Microsoft Windows Server officials said they expected 80 percent of "major server applications" to work out of the box. Of the remaining 20 percent that encountered problems, Microsoft execs expected most problems to be alleviated with small system-administrator-applied configuration tweaks, such as turning off the Windows Firewall.
An article on Microsofts online Knowledge Base detailed the results of the Windows Application Experience test teams with the service pack. The team tested 127 server applications on computers that were running Windows Server 2003 with SP1.
"The goal of the test teams was to verify that the server applications maintained the same level of functionality that was verified for Windows Server 2003," according to the article.
Among those tested: anti-virus, firewall, backup, database, systems management and finance server apps. The majority passed. But a pool of fairly major Microsoft and third-party apps did not.
Microsoft classified the applications that failed compatibility tests as those "where a regression was found."