First - what is R2?

Think of it as an "storage enhancement pack" for Windows Server 2003 SP1. It comes as an additional CD with a set of optional Windows components, mostly for storage management (DFS/FRS, Storage and SAN management, a better NFS implementation), and tons of other improvements.

Where I can read more about it?

This is the starting point:

There are also a number of newly-released documents around features and upgrade scenarios in Windows Server 2003 R2. Read them early - be prepared!

1) Beta 2 Step-by-step Guide for Storage Resource Manager. SRM (which stands for Storage Resource Manager) is a new set of services in R2 that allows an IT administrators to perform a variety of tasks:
- Manage directory-level quotas.
- Manage file screening rules, i.e. blocking files with certain extensions on certain directories.
- Schedule the generation of Storage Reports (for example: Large files, Least Recently Accessed files, Duplicate files, etc) on your server.

2) Overview of the Distributed File System Solution in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2. DFS and FRS had also a number of improvements in this release.

3) Install and Upgrade to Windows Server 2003 R2. This document explains the upgrade strategy from SP1 to R2.

4) Beta 2 Reviewers Guide for Microsoft Services for Network File System in Windows Server 2003 R2. This document details the Microsoft NFS client and server implementation in R2.

5) Print Management Step-by-Step Guide in R2.

How I can try it?

R2 is not shipped yet. Still, you can register to download the Customer Preview (Beta) version from the link below, or order the CD. Check this link for more details: 

The Windows Server 2003 R2 trial software downloads is available at no charge. These downloads are available only in English language versions.
- Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 (360-day trial)
- Windows Server 2003 R2 x86 (180-day trial)

After you have completed the download registration process, you receive an e-mail with a link to the download page and a product key for the software that you requested. The file is in ISO format and must be burned to a CD or DVD before you can install the software on your computer.

The download files are large—between 93 and 125 megabytes, depending on the version you choose—so the download may take a long time to complete. Microsoft recommends that users have a broadband, ADSL, or other high-speed Internet connections to attempt this download.

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