Windows Server 2003: "Inside the Box" - Page 2

 By Vince Barnes
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Enhanced Management Services

There are also many improvements to the management services found in Windows Server 2003. New automated systems include the Microsoft Software Update Service to automatically download patches and updates and make them available for installation. There's a new Group Policy Management Console to simplify Active Directory and Group Policy management. There are also new and improved storage management tools for the management of disks, volumes, and Storage Area Networks (SANs). The Windows Management Instrumentation introduced in Windows 2000 has been extended and now also includes an IIS 6.0 WMI provider. Thus, most administration tasks can now be performed from a command console.

Improved Clustering services enable the high degree of reliability required for e-commerce and critical business applications where failover service is needed. Windows Server 2003 supports clusters of up to eight nodes and supports Network Load Balancing. The family also includes improved support for symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), supporting up to thirty-two processors in a system.

Terminal Services has been upgraded to include the functionality found in the Windows XP Remote Desktop. This feature is the sleeping tiger in Windows Server 2003 — in my humble opinion, the full potential of Terminal Services has yet to be recognized by most Windows Server IT pros.

Windows Server 2003 includes Enterprise UDDI services. UDDI – the Universal Description, Discovery ,and Integration of Web Services — provides a means for companies and applications to quickly, easily, and dynamically find and use Web services over an Intranet, Extranet, or the Internet.

Windows Media Services, the new version of the digital media streaming services package, is included in Windows Server 2003 as well. This is a part of the Windows Media technologies product line that includes the new Media Player, Encoder, audio and video codecs, and the Software Development Kit (SDK).

Server Roles

The Windows Server 2003 family incorporates the notion of Server Roles. There's a set of configuration wizards that enable the quick and easy configuration of a server to fulfill the roles. The defined roles include File and Print Server, Web Server and Web application services, Mail Server, Terminal Server, Remote Access and Virtual Private Network (VPN) Server, Streaming Media Server, Domain Controller, and lastly, Directory Services, which includes Domain Names System (DNS) service, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Server, and Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) Server. Each of the wizards is accessed via the Configure Your Server Wizard, a link to which is provided in the Administrator Tools menu of the Start Menu. Links to comprehensive Help information are available in the wizards.

Configuration of a server in this manner is quick and simple. Security is also assured when the server is configured from a fresh install of Windows Server 2003. When upgrading from Windows 2000, however, settings from the earlier version may be inherited. Some services, for example, that were configured to start automatically in Windows 2000 are not started by default in Windows 2003. To ensure that an upgraded system's services are configured for optimal security, the services' settings can be compared to the table available in "Default settings for services" in the Windows Server 2003 Help system.


A lot of care and consideration went into the creation of the Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems, with particular attention paid to robustness, reliability, and security. In a world where the demands of businesses require 24/7 uptime, zero data loss possibility, and strong defenses against the hostile environment of the Internet, it takes extra time even for such a software giant as Microsoft to rise to the occasion.

While we have been enjoying the usability features of Windows XP on our desktops and patiently waiting for the same features to appear in our servers, Microsoft has been building a system that meets those needs. As time goes by, new holes will surely be uncovered and new bugs will surface, but in the meantime, we have an operating system that takes a big step forward in protecting our access, data, and applications.

This feature originally appeared on Enterprise IT Planet.

» See All Articles by Columnist Vince Barnes

This article was originally published on Jul 8, 2003
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