Windows .NET Server 2003 is almost here and many IT departments will be debating whether or not to upgrade their systems. There will be four main editions (Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, and Web), and although the naming scheme is a little confusing, .NET Server’s core features are not far removed from Windows 2000 Server.
The major enhancements for .NET Server revolve around manageability, networking and security. Active Directory has been improved thanks to the feedback Microsoft has received over the past three years. A further reduction in blue screen crashes and minimal occasions requiring reboot will improve server manageability.
Networking features, especially wireless, have been enhanced and made much more secure. Unneeded services are disabled by default, ensuring that your systems are less vulnerable than in the past.
Microsoft has spent considerable time ensuring that .NET Server’s code is fundamentally secure. The main reason that this release has been delayed is because the developers were all given a crash course in writing secure code.
Other features that IT administrators will be interested in are IIS6.0, Terminal Services, Volume Shadow Copies, and a new Group Policy Management Console.
The .NET Server schedule has been pushed back to an early 2003 release. Pricing should remain in line with Windows 2000 Server prices.
In brief: Microsoft Windows .NET Server 2003, Release Candidate 1
This latest Windows server looks promising but Microsoft’s greatest challenge will be convincing people with NT4 systems to make the upgrade.
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