So, W2K3 Is Here. Should You Adopt It?
Not that easy of a call. The MS Reviewer's Guide for W2K3 runs
over 360 pages and lists more than 600 individual feature improvements. If I were you I'd focus my attention on these three critical areas when evaluating W2K3:
Microsoft is mainly focusing on NT4 users with this new version,
which is about 35% of the NT-code base servers out there. MS claims
W2K3 is eight times as reliable as NT4. If you want to see what
your peers are going to do, see our recent survey "In what timeframe
are you going to migrate your NT4 servers to W2K3?"
- Reliability and security
- Data center readiness and server consolidation
- PC management
Steve Ballmer said W2K3 is faster than any Unix system. It maxes
out at 64 CPUs and 512GB of memory in 64-bit mode and 32 CPUs with
64GB of memory in 32-bit mode. W2K3 is not expected to be a whitehot seller, but MS is going to spend about $250 million advertising it this year.
And as an FYI, if you look at the latest IDC numbers of world-wide
shipments of operating systems for servers, the market shares as of
Q4, 02 (latest available data) are:
The W2K3 Datacenter Edition broke all records for database speed
on an HP Superdome machine made out of 64 1.5GHz Madison Itanium 2's
with the new 64-bit SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition. They said
this combo did 658,277 tpmC at $9.80/tpmC, blowing away the last
speed record. (And when those Itanium chips get larger caches, these
numbers will only go up).
- Windows: 60.22%
- Unix: 14.72%
- Linux: 13.95%
- NetWare: 9.32%
- Others: 1.79%
The HP/Microsoft result came at about a third the cost of the Fujitsu/Solaris result. Here is the link to TCP.org with the specifics, and this site gets updated regularly, so keep it on your favorites:
Also, here is a link to the ENTMag site, which has a good article
with comparisons and things to look out for regarding W2K3:
"Upgrading AD Is Not That Painful"
A reader sent in the following technical comment, which I thought
would be very interesting for all of you to read.
"Stu, in your latest newsletter, you state: 'Be aware that the
process of upgrading AD might be painful. It looks like the fixes
in AD synchronization can only be achieved by going to AD on W2K3.
It sure would have been nice had they made the AD a modular
product that could be upgraded on W2K server.'
I find this statement misleading and disagree wholeheartedly.
I have been working with Microsoft's Joint Deployment Partner/Rapid
Adoption Partner (JDP/RAP) customers since last summer, and have
been delivering training and consulting on the product since it
was still Whistler. Upgrading AD to 2003 is remarkably painless.
Yes, you have to introduce at least one Windows Server 2003 DC
into your environment (after running ADPrep to extend the schema)
to start taking advantage of new functionality, BUT the "fixes" in
"AD synchronization" [which does not exist-synchronization and
replication are entirely different things] are fixes for problems
that one should not have if one's AD is properly deployed in the
The real difference in Windows Server 2003 as far as these "fixes"
are concerned is that if people who shouldn't be deploying AD
because they don't know what they are doing still proceed to do
so, they're going to find fewer manifestations indicative of
having deployed it poorly.
The changes to the KCC algorithm should be unnecessary for
existing AD implementations, and indeed, companies owning some
of the largest implementations of AD in the world have expressed
to me that the new algorithm is of no interest to them because
they've already dealt with replication in their current
implementations--and it works.
The new LVR replication (linked value replication of group
membership) is great, but is still something that should have,
and easily could have, been dealt with in Windows 2000.
Support for InetOrgPerson objects is useful enough even with a
mixture of Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 domain controllers
that it's still an exciting feature.
I could go on ad nauseum, but my point is this - hammering on MS
for lack of backwards compatibility is irresponsible. This is
the first time that Microsoft has introduced a product wherein
they favored security over backward compatibility. The reason
that you can't take advantage of many of the new features of
Windows Server 2003 in AD is because there are extensions to
the schema that Windows 2000 DCs simply cannot use without significant rewrites of the OS.
The reason that you can't run Exchange 2000 on Win2K3 (who cares,
anyway) you can have as many Win2K member servers as you want,
regardless of your domain/forest functional levels) is because
of changes to security in the operating system. I don't know
about you, but I'd rather have a more secure OS, and yes, I'll
give up backward compatibility to get it.
The fact is, transitioning to Windows Server 2003 is painless and
seamless. Taking full advantage of new features requires that you
eventually get rid of down-level DCs. So what? "
Laura A. Robinson Consultant/Technical Instructor
IntelliMark IT Solutions
Downgrades From W2K3 to W2K
Some additional data on this was sent to me from one of you.
"Unless Microsoft has changed the procedures on downgrades,
depending on the program you are in you should be able to do
a downgrade over the phone. I have downgraded Office products
over the phone, and within 10 minutes, the rep has read back a
new PK to me. They have on one occasion sent it to me via plain
Another thing I just realized is that when MS announces that
their sales of the W2K3 OS are better and more and higher and
etc. etc. etc., you have to realize that quite a bit of these
licenses are going to be used to downgrade from W2K3 to W2K.
Stu's comment: "It's a marketing world..."