Windows Server 2003 R2 – Release Two
This week’s article is designed to raise awareness, to get you started. For example, if you see: ‘Trial version of Windows 2003 R2’, you won’t think, ‘I’ve already got that, instead you’ll think, ‘Hmm.. that’s the interim version of Windows Server 2003.
I expect you are familiar with SP in the context of Service Pack, well now Microsoft has a new acronym, R2 – Release two. The idea is that between major upgrades, Microsoft will package minor improvements in one release, so that you can install them all together. The first R2 to watch out for is Windows Server 2003 R2. However, there will be other R2s, including SBS, Windows Storage Server (NAS) and Virtual Server 2005.
Here are examples of improvements provided by Windows Server 2003 R2, integrated Printer Management Console, new MMC and better SAN (Storage Area Network) support. Microsoft has several initiatives to improve the efficiency at branch offices; also, for the big enterprises there is Active Directory Federation services for authenticating with suppliers and associate companies.
The good news is that R2 will be out any week now. The bad news is that the licensing is impenetrable, at least to me. From a cursory glance, it seems that those with Software Assurance (SA) or Enterprise Agreements (EA) will get the R2 free, the rest of us will have to pay. As I hinted earlier, you can apply for an evaluation download or a free 180 day CD from Microsoft.
While I was researching R2, I stumbled across Microsoft’s Feature packs. I already knew of the wonderful Group Policy Management Console, but there are others, for example SUS (Software Update Services), SharePoint Services and add ons for Linux. Good news, all these are Feature Packs are completely free.
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See more interesting Windows Active Directory articles