Microsoft to Release Next Generation of Server Operating System

Microsoft’s latest product offering in their server line of products is .NET Server 2003.  .NET Server 2003 is replacing Windows 2000 Server.  The product is in Release Candidate 1 status which is the first post-beta version of the software.  General release will be determined by the success of the RC1 release but is slated for an end of year release.  Microsoft currently uses the product extensively in-house including running all of its Web servers on it.

.NET Server 2003 comes in Standard, Enterprise, Data Center, and Web editions.  Recommended system requirements include a Pentium server running at least 550 Mhz with 256MB of RAM although Microsoft’s stated requirements are lower.

The operating interface resembles Microsoft’s XP interface and uses a similar task bar to navigate to programs.  In an effort to reduce software piracy, end users must register their copy of .NET Server with Microsoft within 14 days just like Windows XP requires.

Microsoft states that .NET Server 2003 provides improved security, reliability, availability, and scalability over Windows 2000 Server.  More tangible examples of improvements are a Manage Your Server wizard that allows an administrator to configure about a dozen common functions such as DHCP, DNS, IIS, Terminal Services, and file serving.  The Active Directory wizard makes it easier to work with users, groups, and security settings.  Improvements found in IIS 6 include application pooling which can be used to keep Web applications up and running, and more flexible clustering and load balancing.

If your company is currently running Windows 2000 or Windows NT Server v4.0 many experts view .NET Server as the next logical upgrade.  Upgrade timing though is more critical if you are running NT Server as this product has begun its retirement phase.  Sales through several of the channels have already stopped and support options will start being limited on January 1, 2003.  Upgrade timing should also consider your willingness to be on the cutting edge of technology that means possibly installing hot fixes and patches that are usually common before the first service pack is released.


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