April 24th 2003 saw the release of Windows Server 2003 by Microsoft, with the server operating platform set to provide greater performance and scalability compared to Windows 2000, its predecessor. At the same time as Windows Server 2003 Microsoft also launched Visual Studio .Net 2003 and the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server 2000, in turn enabling users to increase productivity with a more cost effective and reliable solution, as well as benefiting from a 30% increase in infrastructure efficiency that this new release offered over Windows NT 4.0
Following its beta version success, feedback confirmed that through Windows Server 2003 Microsoft were able to provide deployment cost reductions of up to 50% whilst providing a 40% increase in stability for some companies when compared to Windows NT 4.0. Other benefits reported included a reduction of up to 30% in relation to the number of servers needed to achieve the same workload throughput with some customers also benefitting from a 20% reduction in management costs.
Windows Server 2003 was the first server designed to support Intel Itanium 64-bit systems and therefore able to serve high levels of demand and business workloads. It offered increased scalability for those who needed it as well as a solution to meet the needs of the small business with simplicity and ease of use key features of the release.
Over 5,000 developers and 2,500 testers were involved in its production, Microsoft implemented 650 advancements and enhancements with Windows Server 2003 including increased security with changes made to default installation components and the IIS web server rewrite, as well as the first of Microsoft’s operating systems to be included in its Trustworthy Computing initiative, which it set up to address concerns regarding privacy, security and public confidence in the industry. Further developments were evident in terms of improvements to Message Queuing, the Active Directory and Group Policy. The Automated System Recovery which replaced rescue disk creation together with enhanced back up and disk management features were also included. Greater management functionality was offered with the Manage Your Server Tool for administrators and support for watchdog timer for the restarting of a server was also included.
Microsoft offered Windows Server 2003 in five editions Web, Standard, Enterprise, Datacentre and Small Business and on December 6 2005, Windows Server 2003 RS was subsequently made available.
Windows Server 2003 would be succeeded by Windows Server 2008 following its release by Microsoft on 4th February 2008.
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