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R2 Inches Closer

The year is winding down, which means Windows Server 2003 R2 must be close. The update to the server OS is Microsoft's last big deliverable on the schedule for 2005. Microsoft left itself some fudge room in the latest version of its public server roadmap. That schedule calls for R2 around the end of the year, which could include early 2006, I guess.

Whether R2 ships this month or early next year, partners serving enterprise customers will find some new opportunities baked into the code.

Those serving customers with file-and-print servers in branch offices will want to check out the new branch office management technologies in R2. They include new tools allowing centralized admins to manage remote servers and new technologies for getting the most out of WAN bandwidth and WAN uptime.

Partners building single sign-on solutions, consumer-facing portals or business-to-business connections will find food for thought in the R2 release. A technology called Active Directory Federation Services provides a number of ways to help an Active Directory-based organization reach out with their AD infrastructure to other company AD forests, to business partners or to consumers. By folding in some of the tools that formerly belonged in Microsoft Services for Unix, Microsoft is also giving Active Directory new ways to natively connect with Unix-based systems and user credentials, as well.

R2 also teaches Windows Server 2003 some new tricks for blocking pesky file types like MP3s, performing quota management and for configuring and provisioning storage area networks.

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For more detail on the R2 feature set, see the special report on our sister site ENTmag.com.

Partners with small business customers will also have new opportunities in R2, but those are a little further away. Microsoft plans an R2 version of Windows Small Business Server in 2006. The specialized OS is planned for 60-90 days after the main Windows Server 2003 R2 release.

We'd love to hear about any plans you have for expanding your business with Windows Server 2003 R2. Send me a note at sbekker@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Scott Bekker on December 05, 2005 at 11:53 AM


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