Data Centers

Windows Server 2003 is quickly earning a place in the enterprise

Windows Server 2003 is here and administrators seem to be receptive to it, even though it's an incremental upgrade--or maybe because it's an incremental upgrade. See what admins think of WS2K3 and its improvements, as well as their plans for deploying it.

Recent NetAdmin surveys on various technologies have confirmed the general industry sentiment that administrators working in most organizations tend to be slow adopters of the newest hardware and software.

However, Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 appears to be overcoming that tendency, at least based on results from our survey of administrators.

Significance of the upgrade
The first indication of WS2K3's emerging spot in the data center is admins' attitude toward the upgrade itself.

Nearly 69 percent of admins view WS2K3 as either a very significant or somewhat significant upgrade (Figure A).

Figure A

WS2K3 deployment
Although admins may view WS2K3 positively, the more important question is whether they are planning to actually use it in their respective organizations. In this case, about 46 percent of respondents said that they were considering migrating some of their systems to Windows Server 2003 (Figure B).

Figure B

We also asked about deploying WS2K3 on new servers. Around 70 percent of respondents said that they will be deploying it on either all or some of the new Windows servers that they purchase (Figure C).

Figure C

WS2K3 features
We asked admins about the best improvements (Figure D) and the best new features (Figure E) in Windows Server 2003. As you can see, administrators ranked the improvements in IIS 6.0 as one of the most important issues.

Figure D

Figure E

Final analysis
Surprisingly, administrators appear to have quickly warmed up to Windows Server 2003. This is probably because WS2K3 is a fairly incremental upgrade from Windows 2000—it includes changes to many of the features that administrators complained about in Win2K, but it does not include a lot of radical overhauls to standard Windows services.

And the fact that Windows Server 2003 is much more secure in its default installation (see this TechProGuild article for details) is probably a big incentive for admins to have it installed on new Windows servers, as reflected by the results in Figure C.

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