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Finally: Windows Server 2003 "R2" Ships

The long-awaited "Release 2" of Windows Server 2003 is finally out, albeit a couple of months later than originally planned. In addition, Microsoft is also shipping an update to its Internet Security and Acceleration Server.

Windows Server 2003 R2, as it is being called, was supposed to be out by the end of last year, but fell slightly behind and only went to manufacturing in early December. That put its availability date at about. . .well, today.

Windows Server 2003 R2 builds on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 by adding manageability improvements for branch office and storage scenarios and by expanding the capabilities of the Active Directory, including the addition of Active Directory Federation Services, which is meant to simplify identity management across multiple platforms via Web services.

The update is available for purchase and will be delivered to Enterprise Software Assurance customers "shortly," according to a statement from Microsoft. Several OEMs, including Dell, HP and IBM have R2 for sale as well.

Also shipping, ISA Server 2004 Service Pack 2 adds Microsoft Update and BITS caching, HTTP Compression and application traffic prioritization. The update is meant to streamline branch office connectivity and security, while making the best use of data center IT resources. The update is available for download 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.

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