Microsoft hardsells Windows Server 2003

CIOL Bureau
New Update

BANGALORE: Microsoft Windows Server 2003, when released in April might face the fiercest competition from — no not Linux — but from Microsoft’s own NT 4. The company is battling with user unwillingness to upgrade from Windows NT 4. The by-now-prehistoric Microsoft’s NT 4 server, which has been around since 1996 is still being used by sizable percentage of Microsoft’s users. Users are unwilling to upgrade despite newer releases.

"We do not use Windows Server 2000 because it has security flaws. Its TCP/IP and UDP ports are vulnerable when opened to the Internet" says Yeshwanth M, System Admin, in Airtel, Bangalore. Microsoft has been dilly-dallying about the launch date of Microsoft Windows server 2003. The new server software has also been suffering from an identity crisis, Microsoft has changed its name four times.

Microsoft hopes to attract NT 4 users with the cost benefits, Windows Server 2003 allows you to create multiple instances of NT 4. With the Virtual server concept, Microsoft hopes to counter competition from Oracle and IBM. The virtual server technology can help Server 2003 inter-operate with Novell and Linux.

The company has also announced that its corporate website,, which attracts 40 million unique users, every month, is hosted out of the new Server OS. The experience of using ASP.NET and the .NET framework is supposed to be an improvement over what was available with Windows 2000 Server because in Server 2003 the request-processing architecture is integrated with IIS 6.0.

Also, content developers can use .NET technologies to create XML-based content that is easily sharable between workgroups and websites.

Yet, administrators are waiting to test the security features in the new server software. "We would like to upgrade to Server 2003 but we would first like to ascertain the security features in Windows Server 2003. Till then, I don’t think we will upgrade in haste", says a systems admin.

To accommodate this sentiment, Microsoft plans to continue providing support to its NT 4 Server software. But future NT 4 support will be limited to security patches. Although this move goes against its Server 2003 hardsell, Microsoft will continue to provide NT patches, probably because it wants to underline its thrust on security.