Windows Server 2003 And Windows Server 2008 Computer Science Essay

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This essay will contain the results of researching two versions of Microsoft Server Operating Systems, namely Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 and on doing so will compare the systems.

The comparison between the 2 operating systems will be carried out using the following methodology.

I will be researching both operating systems systematically and for the purpose of this essay will be creating two distinct sections for comparison purposes in order to cover all possible aspects. Due to a limitation place on the document size I will be dealing with the salient points

The areas of research will look at Improvements and New Functions.

Improvements: Improvements made to various aspects of the Windows 2003 which now exists in version 2008 however with better functionality.

New Functions: Functions that have been added to Windows Server 2008 that were not present in Windows Server 2003.

Each section will be covered in turn and will result in an overall conclusion at the end of my essay. It should also be noted that I will have to draw intelligence on each of these system from various sources, i.e internet, books etc as I have had some practical experience in the use of Windows Server 2003 and no practical experience at all of Server 2008.

Brief Operating System history

Windows Server 2003 was made available on 24 April 2003 with an updated version, Windows Server 2003 R2, being released just over a year and a half later on 6 December 2005. At that time Server 2003, with its Graphic User Interface similar to that of Windows 98 and Windows Me, basically gave users, with experience of either of these operating systems, an excellent insight into the methods used to navigating around Server 2003.

After a gap of approximately 5 years after the introduction of Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 was released on February 27, 2008 with a second release which followed on July 22, 2009.

Server 2008 is built from the same codebase as the Vista OS and as such it has common features with this system.


Microsoft Group Policy Management Console

Windows Server 2003 had a number of feature packs that, if required, had to be downloaded after installation of the Operating System. One such feature was the 'Microsoft Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)' used to unite Group Policy management throughout a network. GPMC is now a feature that is included when installing Server 2008.

There are a number of new group policies preference extensions for server 2008 like printers, services and folder option which provide a more precise aim at specific objects. This makes management and more directionally defined policies easier to implement.

Internet Information Services (IIS)

IIS is a web server application. Server 2003 works with IIS 6.0 whilst Server 2008 operates with IIS 7 which contains security enhancements over the previous versions.

IIS 7 applications and virtual directories retain individuality in configuration which defines their individual purpose to the web server. Applications have an increased bank of protocols to utilise and are not restricted to using HTTP or HTTPS. It adopts the older authentication protocols and now supports forms authentication. In IIS 7, the required Modules can be selected individually so that you can mix and match modules in respect of the required functionality.

ISS 7 has 3 main functions that differ from the earlier version, namely:

Protocol Listeners:

These listeners receive and respond, via IIS, to protocol-specific requests. IIS 6.0 first introduced. HTTP.sys as an HTTP listener however it still exists in IIS 7 and now supports (SSL) Secure Sockets Layer. There are a number of protocol listeners i.e. NET.TCP, NET.MSMQ, HTTP.sys, and NET.PIPE all of which are provided with IIS 7.0.

WWW Service: This service acts as a listener adapter.

In IIS 6, WWW service managed worker processes however this is no longer part of its remit in IIS 7 as it has become a listener adapter for the HTTP .sys protocol listener. This Service retains the functionality of collecting performance counters for Web sites.

Windows Activation Service (WAS):

This service is new in IIS 7.0 and takes on the roles that used to be covered under WWW Service in IIS 6. Those that manages application pool configuration and worker processes.

Making this role into a separate entity guarantees that developers can utilise the same process model and settings for both non-HTTP and HTTP based sites.

Improvements have also been made to five other main areas, which are mainstays of IIS 7. These areas consist of security, extensibility, configuration, system management and diagnostic.

Security: Security has to be taken into account prior to selecting which particular web server to adopt. IIS 7.0 advances the security processes previously initiated in IIS 6.0. These advancements offer a design that is more modular with a module or service being utilized when and if required. IIS 7 comes with 40 plus modules or services.

By adopting the design of installing and using only the modules required, a reduction in the area of attack is produced makes the web server securer.


Extensibility: IIS 7.0 has a new public application programming interface that allows developers to write modules in managed .NET code. Developers can chose between using managed code or native API to create modules. It also facilitates the replacement of existing modules with newly created ones.

Configuration: Configuration for ASP.NET. has been combined with the IIS configuration management both of which now use a web.config file for retention of configuration information., you can use a specific configuration file by copying the web.config file. The web.config file in IIS 7 replaces the metabase for storing config settings

System Management: In IIS 7.0 a new Management interface is provided which combines administrative user interface and manages ASP.NET configuration information.

Groups can consist of various configurable items relative to different categories or Area. IIS 7 also provides an explorer-like display.

Diagnostics: IIS 7.0 has introduced a function that allows web administrators the ability to trace failed request information, this feature falls under the umbrella of 'Failed Request Tracing'.

This is a means of analysing failed requests and determining why they happened, providing the problem can be replicated. Requests can suffered problems for various different reasons like poor performance or authentication and can be, at times, difficult to troubleshoot so it is imperative that a captured trace of the problem is obtained when it occurred.

In simple terms, use' failed-request tracing' to find out why requests hang or why you get error messages.

Rules can be set up that creates parameters for failed requests to be filtered then logged. In this way you can select whether to monitor all contents or be more selected like selecting the monitoring of ASP content only etc.

Status codes can be utilised to filter down requests.

Rules specification can be define by means of a wizard driven interface.

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

IPv6 is an 'Internet Layer protocol for packet-switched internetworking'

Server 2008 has incorporated IP v6 which was more of a necessity than just an enhancement. IPv4, which was released in the 1980s, no longer allows for the expected growth in respect of available Internet addresses. IPv6 has moved from 32 to 128 bits which has increased greatly the number of nodes that can attach to the Internet which would now basically allow for every computer on the planet to have an IP address.

Additional functions of IPv 6 are that it simplifies aspects of address assignment using what is known as 'stateless address autoconfiguration' and network renumbering. By setting the host identifier part of an address to 64 bits the subnet size has been standardized to promote an automotive setup for forming the host identifier from MAC addresses.

IPv 6 also addressed issues of security, which were present in IPv4, with network security integrated into it.

New Functions

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 have various new features which can be categorised under the following heading: Active directory, setup technology, underlying changes to the OS, Networking Changes, File and print services and finally web based services.

Active Directory, which is basically the hub of Windows networking, has been simplified with a number of enhancements having been made in Server 2008. Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS) now takes on the roles of enabling administrators to managed connected nodes centrally, setting up user and group police. Active Directory has increased roles with the addition of services in respect of identity, certificate and rights management. This service empowers system administrator's control of user accounts and the digital certificates that enables them to access certain services and systems.

Additional services introduced in AD are as listed below

Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS),

Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), (formerly Active Directory Application Mode, or ADAM), Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS), Active Directory Rights Management Services (ADRMS).

Cited: 20th November 2010

Active Directory now has a "Read-Only Domain Controller" (RODC) developed for use in circumstances where you don't have enforce the same security features as that of say a head office. i.e. possibly sub offices. In these circumstances a RODC would contain only the details of user names and password relating to staff in that sub office. The RODC still acts as a DC as they can help user authenticate to the file and printer etc that they require. As RODC's is read only has a non writable copy of AD with all write requests send to the main DC. With the exception of sensitive accounts all accounts are replicated and by default credentials are not cached.

Maintenance can be carried out locally on the RODC by a local administrator without administrative rights on the domain.

Without the need to re boot the domain controller you can stop and restart 'Active Directory Domain Services' from the management console or by using command line which has the effect of reducing downtime.

New Backup Facilities

The New backup features in Server 2008 are a Microsoft Management Console snap-in and command line tool. There are four wizards that will take you through different backup and recovery methods. There are also various backup options which allow you to back up what you want, from backing up the full server to backing up just files or applications. There is also the ability to perform a full system restore to a different hard disk drive if the event of the hard drive containing your server operating system failing.

Backups can be managed or created, either from a local or remote computer and backups can be run automatically and on a one off basis as an additional backup.