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MS WIN2003 - Win all the dough of customers?
Jul 22, 2003 12:19 AM 4087 Views
(Updated Jun 19, 2004 08:21 AM)

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640K ought to be enough for anybody - Bill Gates


At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top - I'm afraid that's not quite right. - Bill Gates


PROLOGUE


Let me start off with a confession. I have been a heavy time Microsoft user, since the days of MS-DOS 2.0 till the latest and greatest from MS. Microsoft is an institution, unparalleled by anyone so far. For many, Microsoft is a religion, a puzzle, an object of enviness, A Model to emulate. It’s success speaks volumes. When I saw the request for Windows 2003 and no one has written one so far, I wanted to sieze the opportunity to write the first one. Without further adieu, let us delve into the topic.


INTRODUCTION


It is almost 3+ years since the Win2K won the customers all over the world(Did they have a choice? Yes! They did, in the form of Hobson’s choice. :)). Like many critics who wanted to trash this money minting OS, they blasted about the native secutity, the need to tighten things up once you install et al. Microsoft has done some excellent job in tightening the security layer of their flagship product. The ease of installation is also a breeze. I shall delve into generic features now.


NEW FEATURES




  1. VSS (Volume Shadow copy Service) – Allows admin to automatically take a disk backup at a scheduled time, specifically disk drive images and snapshots. (A great tool for recovery & backup purposes).




  2. MANAGE YOUR SERVER - This wizard is an excellent add-in only gives and admin with the option to setup new services on the server (This is as easy as add/remove program utils you may have seen in earlier versions). The niche fact about this is that, this extends the options as you choose to add services.




  3. WEB BASED ADMIN – This tool lets you manage the administrative functions using a browser. This is very effective especially if you have the servers available in a secure VPN where you can use IPSEC to manage your servers remotely.




  4. ENHANCED GROUP POLICY – This policy has grown extensively, mainly due to the security fallacies of Win2K. This feature lets you have policies for logins, scripts, disk quotas, RPCs, RA, SR, ER etc etc. You set a policy and live by it.




  5. The cream of the enhancements is ACTIVE DIRECTORY IN APPLICATION MODE (ADAM) - ADAM provides locality of data and satisfies the dedicated storage/store requirements of an application. ADAM is an independent service vs an OS service like the earlier one.This lets you modify the ADAM instances without needing a scheduled downtime to make changes to the corporate directory infrastructure.




  6. IIS 6 – Which has some cool services, such as Worker Process Isolation, features to work with Microsoft Passport et al.




  7. MTS (Microsoft Terminal Server/ Terminal Services) – Enhanced with excellent features. This lets you manage File System,Ports , Printers ,Audio ,Smart Card Sign In ,Windows Keys ,Time Zone and Virtual Channels from this service.






And the list goes on. Let us delve into characteristics


REQUIREMENTS & PRICING


Requirement for the Standard Edition of Win2K3


• Minimum CPU Speed     ==>133 MHz


• Recommended CPU      ==>     550 MHz


• Minimum RAM     ==>     128 MB


• Recommended Minimum RAM     ==>     256 MB


• Maximum RAM     ==>4 GB


• Disk Space for Setup     ==>1.5 GB


Pricingwise, it is $999 for standard edition to $4999 for Enterprise one with 25 CALs.


INSTALLATION - ½ stars


This is a breeze. Need to activate the license within a 60 day grace period. This is to prevent the software piracy. There are some limitations on memory requirements.


SECURITY - stars


It is simply excellent, considering its predecessors. MS has comeup with a formula called SD3+3 which means (Secure by Design, Secure by Default, Secure in Deployment and Communications). Two thumbs up here. ( I am sure there will be some loopholes to be found. :-) )


USER INTERFACE - ½ stars


There are some good features from an end user perspective. After all, it is from some of the exceptional Human Factors Engineers around. Whilst the 3D features can be seen in the later version of Windows, (This is Whistler edition I am talking about), this one has some great UI for users to admire.


DEVELOPMENT TOOLS - stars


There are many tools and utilities available for developers. .NET framework, Application Verifier, ASP.NET, Bandwidth Throttling, CLR, UDDI, Web Gardens are some of them. .NET framework is in the evolving mode and is yet to reap the benefits of its might, as promised, yet. Will be an year or two before it becomes a force to reckon with. From win2k3 perspective, this is cool


FEATURES - stars


Though there are many features included, there aren’t mind-boggling bells and whistles from this IT bellwether. Though the features mentioned above are good enough, I am still feeling a little bit left out in this perspective.


VALUE FOR MONEY - ½ stars


I certainly feel that this is a great product for the amount you spend. MS has rightfully decided to give more flexibility to its toughest customers, (i.e) Admins of the Windows Servers, who wanted a lot from this release. The actual end-user also gets a lot of features, at the end.


OVERRALL RATING - ½ stars


This “Whistler” Edition of Windows Server is one with a lot of Bells and Whistles. Though it may not be as costly as “Whistler’s Mom” painting, this will win over the corporate and home customers alike for price, performance and features.


CONS


Like all the tools, there are some cons associated with this one too. Some of them are.




  1. Your Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 won’t work (A Ploy to get you into upgrade..??)




  2. The hardware requirements can be a little tricky.




  3. The enhanced security features makes the easiness a installation a tiny bit difficult.




  4. You may need to go through a bit of learning curve( I Love it though!)




  5. You may not like the activation policy.






BOTTOMLINE


As an avid computer user and a long-time MS user, I am very clear in my conscience that Win2K3 is an excellent OS to have handy. There may be MS-Haters as well as die hard Linux fans differing(I am a Linux fan too..), from this opinion. At the end of the day, it is the price, power, performance that matters, not perfection. Like many said, if there is a perfect software, millions will be jobless and there is no need for an industry.


I Hope you liked this review, Please chip in your comments


KALIL



Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose. - Bill Gates


Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. - Bill Gates



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