In the development for Windows Server 2003, much work was done to improve the scalability of the kernel (the core set of functionality that the entire operating system relies on). Detailed analysis, with both software and hardware tools on systems with up to 32 processors, resulted in the improvements being made in the following key areas:

  • Scheduling
  • Memory management
  • Kernel spinlocks
  • Heap
  • Processes, threads, handles, objects, and named pipes
Given that all other Windows application server components (such as Active Directory, IIS, COM+ etc) and all third party applications make use of these features extensively, the scalability and efficiency benefits are felt throughout the entire application environment. In addition to making great scalability improvements, the changes to the kernel have also had a large impact on performance of the operating system and this is a benefit that can be dramatic even on single processor machines. VeriTest, an independent test lab, has found that Windows Server 2003 outperforms Windows 2000 Server by a dramatic margin—typically performing two to three times faster on the same hardware.

Compared to Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003 is:

  • Half as fast again as a file server.
  • Three times faster serving dynamic Web content.
  • Three times faster serving static Web content.
  • Three times faster performing LDAP operations.
(Averages taken between a single processor and an eight processor machine)


-- James