Claiming it to be the most reliable and secure server operating system it has ever produced, Microsoft officials last Friday announced it has delivered the final code of Windows Server 2003 to manufacturing.
In concert with the Windows Server 2003 announcement, Microsoft also announced it is releasing the final code of its 64-bit SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition to manufacturing. The upcoming data base is designed to support memory-intensive applications that require high performance.
In a press conference with reporters Microsoft officials said they are still on track to deliver to both products to users on April 24, along with Visual Studio .Net 2003 at a splashy event to be held in San Francisco.
Microsoft officials said there will be seven members of the Windows Server 2003 family including the Data Center Edition, the Datacenter Edition for 64-bit Itanium 2 servers, the Enterprise Edition, The Enterprise Edition for 64-bit Itanium 2 Systems, the Standard Edition and the Small Business Server version which will not be available until some time in this year's third quarter.
"Our mandate for the product was clear. We had to build a customer-driven release that made breakthroughs in quality, was first in performance and had value for businesses of all sizes," said Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft. "Our 300 early adopters are confirming that it is helping drive down overall IT costs and providing the high levels of performance and reliability," he said.
Those who stand to benefit the most from the upcoming server are Windows NT 4.0, according to Veghte. He said Windows Server 2003 is 100 times more scalable and does so at one-tenth the cost per transaction compared with NT 4.0 when that product was first introduced. They should also experience 40 percent greater stability, in large part because of a more robust driver model and system recovery capabilities.
Through improved reliability and scalability Windows Server 2003 has allowed early adopters to drive down their IT costs by allowing them to do much more server consolidation, up to 30 percent more, as well as through better management and greater productivity, Vegthe said.
"I look at Windows Server 2003 as the foundation of a comprehensive integrated platform that can not lower IT costs and expenses but significantly help with better deployments," he said.
Offering testimony to the product's improvements, GE Medical Systems administrators said it has provided them with more security and flexibility.
"We're building a more automated, robust system that is more secure, stable and manageable," said Ron Brahm, global infrastructure program manager at GE Medical Systems. "By upgrading to Windows Server 2003, we can administer our environment from a central location and be able to turn on a dime," he said in a prepared statement.
Offering evidence of its ongoing commitment to its Trustworthy Computing initiative, Vegthe said Microsoft spent almost US$200 million on training some 13,000 Windows developers on new security development techniques, implementing new engineering processes, and completing a line-by-line security review of the product. He said over 5,000 Microsoft employees worked on its development.
"I've been involved in the development of every release of Windows Server, and this is by far the most secure, most reliable, highest-performing server operating system we've ever built," said Dave Thompson, corporate vice president of the Windows Server product group at Microsoft.
Preferring to just revel at the completion of Windows Server 2003, Vegthe and other Microsoft officials refused to comment on when the company might deliver the server's follow-ups, code named Longhorn and Blackcomb.
Vegthe did say however that there are no immediate plans to bundle in with Windows Server 2003 adjunct products such as Greenwich and Sharepoint Services, and that they will remain separately packaged offerings. He said he expected those products to be delivered over the next "60 and 120 days."