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Windows Server 2003 - Pros and Cons

written by: George Garza•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 3/16/2010

Windows Server 2003 is a powerful operating system designed for client-server operations. It has a large business following and provides many operations for the network. It can function as a domain controller or as a stand alone server.

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    What is Windows Server 2003?

    Windows Server 2003 is a server operating system still used in local networks. The operating system followed the Microsoft NT system of the late '90s. Following that, Windows Server 2003 was released and, with it, a new operational kernel. It provided security and the active directory system, which handled file management and layout control. Windows Server 2003 came with a new architecture and visual effects, divorcing the technology from older systems.

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    Windows Server 2003 - Pros

    Applications

    In the Microsoft universe, many companies provide hardware and software support. The number of applications that are available to run in the Server 2003 environment are numerous. There are financial apps, database programs, and e-mail exchange operations as well as web server and Internet programs.

    Security

    Domain operations are an important resource available on the network through Server 2003. Making Server 2003 a domain controller adds security and the ability to add local and group policies to the network. If Server 2003 is not promoted to the status of a domain controller, then it can run simple network operations using peer-to-peer structures. These are workgroups, and they can only block or allow access but do not provide control features for the network.

    Windows Server 2003 local policies have the ability to perform certain operational commands. For example, some of the operations available are rebooting a remote server, using remote desktop operations, or adding and removing other users and computers. These are operations available to the domain controller network system. This means that Server 2003 can centralize user and computer access. Only one machine needs to be configured as the Domain Controller rather than all machines on the network.

    Reliability and Downtime

    As for reliability, Server 2003 is very reliable. The uptime on Windows 2003 Servers is about 99.993%. On a yearly basis, that means that the server is roughly down about 40 minutes per year. And this downtime is only that much because the reboots may take 6 minutes or so to fully restart the system.

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    Windows Server 2003 - Cons

    Additional Hardware Resources

    One disadvantage to using Windows Server 2003 is that it requires more resources for the machine to operate properly. Usually purchasing software will also involve upgrading the hardware. For instance, many software products require more internal memory and a faster, more powerful processor. It also requires several updates and security patches, usually referred to as service packs. Sometimes, after the installation of these service packs, problems can occur with the operating system, rendering the server unusable until the problem is resolved.

    Support Costs

    There are high support costs. The administration of Server 2003 involves having trained support staff. The staff must be well trained to take advantage of the the system, which can be costly. There are licensing costs for using the software that are not only related to the server itself but also to the client workstations.

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    Summary

    Windows Server 2003 provides many features that make it a popular server for businesses, large or small. The application support, reliability, and security make it a server that has a lot of consumer confidence.

    The disadvantages of windows Microsoft server 2003 are that it is costly, the staff must be trained, and security and service packs must be installed which can disrupt the operations on the network.