Microsoft’s 2002 Server

Dumb investments in technology hurt business, and are even more perilous when the economy has headed south as it has today. Many organizations are watching the development of Microsoft Corp.’s next-generation Windows server operating systems — officially named Windows 2002 Server and formerly code-named “Whistler” — and wondering if it’s smart to put off their plans for adopting Windows 2000.

Our look at Windows 2002 Server Beta 2 shows that IT leaders should face little difficulty in adding 2002 Server to the mix if their IT staff members have solid experience with Windows 2000.

It should be safe for IT managers to base their planning for 2002 Server’s system requirements on the specifications for Windows 2000. Note, however, that key capacity areas such as system memory and maximum addressable storage will scale greatly in 64-bit versions of 2002 Server. Customers concerned with the stability of yet another version of Windows should be reassured by our post-review experience with Beta 1 of Advanced Server.

After we finished putting it through its paces last November, we left a server with Beta 1 running in the Test Centre as a simple check for memory leaks and other odd behaviour. It ran without incident until we shut it down in April to install Beta 2. That’s not the kind of stability we anticipate from beta software, but we always enjoy being pleasantly surprised. We expect Beta 2 will yield similar results in long-term use.

Several improvements to Active Directory are included in the Beta 2 release, including a simple DNS (Domain Name System) configuration checker. Because Active Directory relies on DNS, even a minor error could have serious repercussions.

One note of caution: When you make a Windows 2002 Server an Active Directory Domain Controller, you’ll run into minor compatibility snags between the Active Directory schemata used by Windows 2000 and Windows 2002 Server, so this part of your upgrade will require extra care.

We are comfortable with what we have seen so far, but servers are usually mission-critical items. Therefore, we advise businesses to upgrade prudently. Although 2002 Server looks like a horse to bet on, companies preparing to install Windows 2000 servers in the next 12 months should continue to plan on using Windows 2000 while waiting for the first service pack to Windows 2002 Server. This caveat notwithstanding, we think Microsoft’s on the right track with Beta 2.

Senior Analyst P.J. Connolly ( covers networking, operating systems, and security.


Windows 2002 Server Beta 2

Business Case: Microsoft’s latest release — the most stable and secure version of Windows yet — offers improved scalability that will allow companies to further consolidate servers. Better management tools mean fewer resources devoted to server care.

Technology Case: Shops seeking a 64-bit Windows environment eagerly await 2002 Server, which will allow them to address larger chunks of memory and storage while offering better security features.


+ Enhanced system scalability, stability

+ Better administration and security tools


– Mix of NT, 2000, and 2002 servers may be too much trouble

Cost: To be determined

Platform(s): To be determined

Company: Microsoft Corp.,

Shipping: Late 2001/early 2002