With its familiar Windows interface, Windows Server is easy to use. New streamlined wizards simplify the setup of specific server roles and routine server management tasks so that even servers without a dedicated administrator are easy to manage. In addition, administrators have several new and improved features designed to make it easier to deploy Active Directory. Large Active Directory replicas can be deployed from backup media, and upgrading from earlier server operating systems such as Microsoft Windows NT® is easier with the Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT), which copies passwords and is fully scriptable. Maintaining Active Directory is easier with new features, such as the ability to rename domains and redefine schema, giving administrators the flexibility to handle organizational changes that may occur. In addition, cross-forest trusts let administrators connect Active Directory forests, providing autonomy without sacrificing integration. Lastly, improved deployment tools, such as Remote Installation Services, help administrators quickly create system images and deploy servers.
Efficient and secure networked computing is more important than ever for a business to remain competitive. Windows Server lets organizations take advantage of existing IT investments, and extend those advantages to partners, customers, and suppliers by deploying key features like cross-forest trusts in the Microsoft Active Directory® service as well as Microsoft .NET Passport integration. Identity management in Active Directory spans the entire network, helping ensure security throughout the enterprise. It’s easy to encrypt sensitive data, and software restriction policies can be used to prevent damage caused by viruses and other malicious code. Windows Server is the best choice for deploying a public key infrastructure (PKI), and its autoenrollment and autorenewal features make it easy to deploy smart cards and certificates across the enterprise.
Reliability is enhanced through a range of new and improved features including memory mirroring, Hot Add Memory, and health detection in Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0. For higher availability, the Microsoft Cluster service now supports up to eight-node clusters and geographically separated nodes. Better scalability is provided with the ability to scale from a single-processor to 64-way Itanium 2 systems. Overall, Windows Server is faster with up to 140 percent better file-system performance as well as significantly faster performance for Active Directory, XML Web services, Terminal Services, and networking.
Windows Server provides many technical advances that help organizations lower total cost of ownership (TCO). The Windows Resource Manager, for example, lets administrators set resource usage (for processors and memory) on server applications and manage them though Group Policy settings. Network-attached storage helps consolidate file services. Other improvements include support for Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), Intel Hyper-Threading technology, and multi-path input/output (I/O), all of which help “scale up” servers.
IIS 6.0, the Web server included in Windows Server, provides enhanced security and a dependable architecture that offers application isolation and greatly improved performance. The result: higher overall reliability and uptime. And Microsoft Windows Media® services makes it easy to build streaming media solutions with dynamic content programming as well as faster and more reliable performance.
The Microsoft .NET Framework is deeply integrated into the Windows Server operating system. Microsoft ASP.NET enables high-performance Web applications. With .NET-connected technology, developers are freed from having to write tedious “plumbing” code and can work efficiently with the programming languages and tools they already know. Windows Server provides many features that boost developer productivity and the value of applications. Existing applications can be easily repackaged as XML Web services. UNIX applications can be easily integrated or migrated. And developers can quickly build mobile-aware Web applications and services through ASP.NET mobile Web Forms controls and other tools.
Windows SharePoint Services is a platform for creating large numbers of smart Web communities focused on information sharing and team productivity. It can scale to thousands of sites within an organization. It fully supports load-balanced Web farm and clustered database deployments. Site and server managers can enforce storage quotas using a sites per-server and users per-site criterion. Site usage can be monitored to detect and retire inactive sites. Security is granular, yet easily managed. Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) is a security feature of Windows that works with applications to help safeguard confidential and sensitive enterprise information—no matter where it goes.
Expected to be available as an add-in component, the new Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) allows administrators to better deploy and manage policies that automate key configuration areas such as users’ desktops, settings, security, and roaming profiles. A new set of command-line tools lets administrators script and automate management functions, allowing most management tasks to be completed from the command line if desired. Support for Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) helps administrators automate the latest system updates.
With the new shadow copy restore feature, users can retrieve previous versions of files instantly, without requiring costly assistance from a support professional. Enhancements to the Distributed File System (DFS) and File Replication service (FRS) provide users with a consistent way to access their files wherever they are.
Windows Server includes Enterprise UDDI Services, a dynamic and flexible infrastructure for XML Web services. This standards-based solution enables companies to run their own UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) directory for intranet or extranet use, making it easy to discover Web services and other programmatic resources. Developers can easily and quickly find and reuse the Web services available within the organization. IT administrators can catalog and manage the programmable resources in their network. Enterprise UDDI Services also helps companies build and deploy smarter, more reliable applications.