Second Release Candidate Posted for Windows Server 2003 R2

Microsoft this week posted the second release candidate of Windows Server 2003 Release 2 for download.

The second release candidate is actually named RC1. The first candidate, which was released at the end of August, was dubbed RC0. Windows Server 2003 R2 has been in beta testing since last December, and is on track to ship by year’s end.

Microsoft products reach the release candidate stage at the end of formal beta testing. The company then begins releasing a series of candidates for final release. If no last-minute “showstopper” bugs surface, the RC becomes the final “gold” code that ships as the commercially released product. If major bugs do emerge, Microsoft developers fix them and ship another RC.

Final release of R2 will bring with it long-awaited capabilities to let Active Directory integrate with other identity management systems through Web Services via Active Directory Federation Services.

R2 will also add features for centralized backup and management of file and print services, better availability, more efficient publishing and collaboration and remote server hardware management, as well as simpler SAN management for the IT generalist and Storage Resource Management.

Interest has been running high for R2, with 25,000 combined downloads of Beta 2 and RC0. “Also, as announced last week, licenses for Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition will allow customers to run up to four virtual instances on one physical server at no additional cost,” the company said in a statement.

Windows Server 2003 R2 RC1 can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.