Windows Server 2003

Windows server 2003, also recognized as Win2K3, is a server operating system developed under the aegis of Microsoft. The server operating system drew the curtains open with its first version on 20th April 2003. The most recent version of the server operating system was released on 4th February 2008.

Microsoft is certain that Windows Server 2003 is more ascendable and capable of delivering performance par excellence and better than its predecessor, Windows 2000.


A windows server 2003 can pose as the most valuable asset in any organization because of its impeccable and indifferent features. The most generic feature of all the editions of the server OS is that they are capable of sharing files and printers, host message queues, act as an application server and an X. 509 certificate server, provide LDAP directory services and perform other server-oriented functions. Some of them are:

  • The server operating system comes equipped with a dynamic Web Server, IIS 6.0 (Internet information services), which proffers a secure architecture and enhanced security that ensures application isolation and improved performance.
  • The embedded Microsoft Active Directory helps business organizations to make the most of the existing IT investments and extend those to customers, partners, suppliers et cetera by positioning the key features.
  • It is equipped with a Windows Resource Manager that gives the administrators the freedom to set resource usage for processors and memory on several server applications and manage the same through the Group Policy settings.
  • It balances for applications that help to scale up servers. Some of these applications include Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), Intel Hyper-Threading technology. Multi-path input/output et cetera.
  • The server operating system is incorporated with the Microsoft .NET framework. Microsoft ASP.NET provides web applications that are rated in high in performance.
  • Group policy Management Console (GPMC) grants the administrators permission to distribute as well as manage policies that make automatic the key configuration areas, namely, desktops, security, settings, roaming profiles et cetera. It also supports for Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) that helps to automate the system updates.
  • Shadow copy restore feature helps the users to retrieve earlier versions of several file in just about a few minutes without the need for expensive customer support assistance. The user can access files from wherever they are with the help of Distributed file system (DFS) and File replication services (FRS), which are in-built in the server operating system.
  • Companies can easily run personal UDDI directory for internet and extranet usage with the help of Enterprise UDDI for XML Web services.

Windows Server 2003 Editions

Windows server 2003 includes a number of editions that have been programmed to suit certain size and type of business.

The various types and editions of Windows server 2003 are: Series or types

Windows Small Business Server SBS is aimed at meeting the needs of a small business with a complete technology solution. It includes targeted technologies and solutions like Remote Web Workplace that offer management benefits.
The standard edition of SBS comprises of Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory. Other basic services include a firewall, DHCP server and NAT router that uses either two or one network card in addition to a hardware router.
Windows Compute Cluster Server It was released in 2006 and was designed to provide high-end applications that can be distributed to several computers to be clustered together to yield supercomputing speeds. The server comprises of one controlling head node along with subordinate processing notes that carry out a major portion of the work. It makes use of the Microsoft Messaging Passing Interface v2 for communicating between the processing notes on the cluster network.
Windows Storage Server It is a particular server operating system that is meant for Network Attached Storage (NAS). It is specialized for use in file, print sharing and Storage Area Network (SAN) settings. Unlike other versions of Windows Server 2003 that proffer file and printer sharing functionality, Windows Storage Server 2003 requires no necessity of any client access license. The NAS equipments can be headless i.e. without any monitors, mice, keyboards. The storage capacity is made available to all the users when the devices are plugged into an existing IP network. In addition, the server permits the NAS devices to be connected to a SAN. Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 is a follow up to Windows Storage Server 2003. 

Web Edition

  • For building and hosting Web application, XML web services, Web pages et cetera.
  • Designed to be used chiefly as an IIS 6.0 Web server as well as to provide a platform for speedily developing and distributing XML web services and applications that utilize ASP.NET technology.
  • Terminal server mode is not integrated.
  • Installing service pack 1 is absolutely essential if there is a necessity to install Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange software.
  • The Web Edition of Windows Server 2003 does not include the .NET framework. Therefore, the user is expected to install it separately from Windows Update.
  • Supports a maximum of 2 processors and maximum of 2GB of RAM.
  • Does not require client access licenses.

Standard Edition

  • Concerned with small to medium sized businesses.
  • Allows for deployment of centralized desktop application.
  • Capable of running up to 4 processors and 4 GB and 32 GB of RAM.
  • Provides non-uniform memory access.

Enterprise Edition

  • Concerned with medium to large businesses.
  • Full-function servers that supports up to 8 processors and 32 GB of RAM.
  • Capable of handling up to 1 TB of memory.
  • Provides non-uniform memory access.

Datacenter Edition

  • Designed for those infrastructures that demand high reliability and security.
  • Supports a maximum of up to 32 processors and 64 GB and 1 TB of RAM.
  • Provides non-uniform memory access

Features in general

Editions No. Of CPUs(physical) Versions available(32-bit and 64-bit) Disk drives NICs Print service CALs required iSCSI target support Clustering
Express 1 Both 2 1 No No Optional No
Workgroup 1 Both 4 2 Yes No Optional No
Standard 1-4 Both Unlimited UL Yes No Optional No
Enterprise 1-8 Both Unlimited UL Yes No Optional Yes


Easy to distribute, manage and use

The familiarity of the Windows interface makes it easy to use Windows Server 2003. Several streamlined wizards make the setting up of specific server roles simple. The Active Directory Migration tool makes it easier to upgrade from earlier server operating system.

Class reliability, scalability, availability and performance

Features like Hot Add memory, memory mirroring and health detection in internet information services enhance the reliability of the server. The server provides scalability with a power to easily scale from 1 processor to 64-way Itanium 2 systems. In the process, the server performs better and faster as it provides up to 140 percent better file system performance and performance for Active Directory, Terminal services, XML Web services and networking.

Increased document protections and availability and security

The shadow copy restore feature helps the users to retrieve previous versions of the files in a very short time. The identity management in Active Directory covers an entire network thereby helping to ensure security.