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Review: Windows Server 2003 R2
There's plenty to like in this update, such as its Storage Management tools and File Screens feature, but some kinks still must be worked out.
December 28, 2005
2 Min Read
The File Screens feature is an interesting addition. You can filter the types of files to save to your disk, specifically excluding file types that have no business on the server in question. I was able to create filters that warned users about attempting to save blocked file types. Unfortunately, I could not create an active rule, one that would keep users from saving a category of files--"all video files," for instance--to the disk. There's an option to create an active rule, and an option to change active to passive (notification only), but these options did not seem to work in my tests, and going back into the screens dialogue showed the options still set on passive. Microsoft had no answers about why this might be happening, but it was consistent across all File Screens I created.
Microsoft has implemented an algorithm for replication over restricted bandwidth lines that it calls "diff over the wire." This is useful if you're replicating from a remote office, for example. But if the data you're replicating is critical to your organization, other full-blown products on the market will give you much more control over your replication environment.
That said, if you're running Windows, the upgrade is a no-brainer. Customers who have an Enterprise Edition license covered under Microsoft's Software Assurance program will receive Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition as part of their upgrade rights; others will have to purchase a new license under one of Microsoft's licensing programs (for more info click here).
There's nothing so compelling about this upgrade that you must rush to deployment without thorough testing. You're best off to think of this as more like a major service pack and less like a massive infusion of new technology. Microsoft appears to see it that way, or its execs would have given it a different name.
Don MacVittie is a senior technology editor at Network Computing. Write to him at dmacvittie@ nwc.com.
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