What is Windows 2003 all about and do I need it?
This question was answered on May 2, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Microsoft recently launched the latest in its operating system offerings, which is called Windows ‘Server’ 2003.
There actually is not a Windows 2003 product for the desktop or laptop environment, only for the server environment, so the answer to ‘do I need it ’ is likely to be ‘no’ unless you are running a network or web server
Windows Server 2003 is the update to the Windows 2000 Server Edition, which is used by most corporate or small business networks for sharing information amongst its users or by web hosting companies for serving web sites
Microsoft will begin to phase out support for Windows 2000 Server beginning in March of 2005 and will ‘retire’ support by 2007.
For most corporate IT staff, small businesses or web developers that work in the Windows server environment, it is just a matter of time before you will have to migrate to the Server 2003 platform.
‘When’ you migrate is based on many things, including application and hardware support as well as the primary tasks that the server is performing In most cases, businesses don’t change their server platform until a primary software program that they use requires them to do so or a massive hardware failure presents them with the opportunity to upgrade.
As always, it is never a good idea to upgrade or migrate just for the sake of doing so Always identify the reason for migrating before taking the plunge.
If you operate in a multi-server environment, testing the new OS on a non-critical server is a good way to get to know the new platform and test it with your applications If you only have one server in your network, your best bet is to let the industry do the initial troubleshooting for you Once Server 2003 has been in use long enough, specific issues of performance, compatibility and support for third party applications will be better known.
According to Microsoft Senior Technology Specialist, Harold Wong, some of the more interesting new offerings of Windows Server 2003 include tighter security (everything is turned off as a default, instead of previous versions that generally had most features turned on), more flexibility and hardware support, higher performance capabilities (64 bit and Hyper-Threading processor support) and a new process called VSS (Volume Shadow copy services) that allows you to take a quick snapshot of the server for data integrity purposes.
Another interesting option is the ability to purchase a specific Web Server version of 2003 for those that want to create Windows based web servers In the past, a full version of the standard server program was necessary, even if you only wanted to build a web server This new option will dramatically reduce the cost (about half the price) of Windows-based web servers.
The bottom line on this new version is that it will become the de facto Microsoft server standard in the next couple of years If you currently have a Microsoft based server, it would be a good idea to learn more about it so you can make a good informed decision on when and how to migrate to it.
About the author
Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on May 2, 2003