Microsoft Releases Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

Today Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), a cumulative service pack that provides the latest updates and security and stability enhancements, in addition to the newest features, to the Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional x64 operating systems. Thousands of customers are already using the Release Candidate of SP2, which was made available in November. In fact, there has been twice as many downloads of the SP2 Release Candidate than there were of Windows Server 2003 SP1 Release Candidate.

 

SP2 enables IT professionals to secure their server and improve system reliability and stability, helping them better meet the needs of their organizations.  Some of the new features and capabilities include:

  • Windows Deployment Services is an updated and redesigned version of Remote Installation Services (RIS), allowing administrators to set up new computers through a network-based installation without having to be physically present at each computer and without having to install directly from DVD media.
  • Windows Server 2003 Scalable Networking Pack enables customers to cost-effectively improve the performance and scalability of network-based Windows Server 2003 workloads, such as file storage, backup, Web servers, and media-streaming.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 supports the new Wi-Fi Alliance certification for wireless security, making it easier for end users to securely connect to Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Improved IPSEC Filter Management reduces the filter set from 400 to 2 that needs to be managed in a Server and Domain Isolation using IPSEC. It also removes the need for ongoing filter maintenance due to infrastructure changes.
  • “Firewall per port” authentication secures traffic between extranet environments and internal assets that are protected via IPsec domain isolation.
  • Microsoft Management Console 3.0 supports richer functionality in snap-in management tools, allows users to add or remove snap-ins and provides improved error handling via the MMC console.
  • Enhanced MSConfig provides a single launching point for common support tools that will ease server diagnostics.

Windows Server 2003 SP2 is also the foundation operating system for the upcoming service pack of Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. In addition to general bug fixes, the compute node deployment wizard of Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 SP1 will be based on Windows Deployment Services, which makes adding a compute node as simple as plugging it into the network and turning it on. Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 has been available since August 2006 and is designed to combine supercomputing scalability and performance along with ease of use through integration with existing Windows infrastructure and interoperability with existing resources. Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 SP1 will be available for download and CD orders by the end of March.  For download and order information, please visit www.microsoft.com/hpc.

 

Windows Server 2003 SP2 updates apply to:

  • Windows Server 2003, all editions (32-bit x86, x64 and Itanium-based editions)
  • Windows Server 2003 R2, all editions
  • Windows Storage Server R2, all editions
  • Windows Unified Data Storage Server
  • Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 SP1
  • Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2
  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

 For additional information please visit the Windows Server 2003 SP2 Home Page