Windows 2000 Server Family

All Windows 2000 Server versions come with a built-in web server: Internet Information Services 5.0, also referred to as IIS. In Windows NT 4.0, this web server was called Internet Information Server 4.0 and came with the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack. Note the difference: Now it is a service, before it was a server—just like the Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS). We will take a closer look at IIS in Chapter 7, where we‘ll compare IIS 5.0 with the new IIS 6.0, released with Windows Server 2003.

One thing worth mentioning here though, is the inclusion of better support for Active Server Pages (ASP) in IIS 5.0, which gives you better options for building dynamic web solutions.

Microsoft built native support for XML into its operating system from Windows 2000 Server forward. Nowadays, it is virtually impossible to find a Microsoft product missing XML support. This is a good thing, because since it first was introduced, XML has gained respect as a stan- dardized means of transporting data, and is used extensively in application development.

To enhance scalability and availability, Microsoft also made significant improvements to the core operating system, and added support for more CPUs and more memory. They also improved memory management and the handling of device drivers to reduce unplanned downtime.

We can break these scalability improvements down to enhancements in two areas: scaling up and scaling out.

Scaling Up

The following technologies were improved:

  • Large memory support was increased to a maximum of 32GB
  • 32-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) support was

These improvements are mostly useful in backend database systems, messaging server systems, decision support, and data mining systems.

Scaling Out

Improvements were also made to the following areas:

  • Network Load Balancing (NLB) could include up to 32 servers in one
  • Component Load Balancing (CLB) could be included with Application Center
  • Microsoft Clustering Service was

These areas prove helpful when building web infrastructure, application servers, and directory and DNS servers.

Other Feature Enhancements

Here are some other features that also were enhanced:

  • Improvements to Winsock Direct for efficient interconnectivity within a system area network
  • Support for high-performance data sets
  • Integration of Microsoft Messaging and Queue Service to Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ)
  • Integration of Microsoft COM+ Transaction Services (MTS) into the OS

Beside these improvements, a lot of effort went into helping administrators by providing useful tools to handle their everyday work. These tools are often based on a wizard system that aids in administrative tasks step by step.

Let’s take a look at the different versions of Windows 2000 Server. The smallest version is Windows 2000 Server. This entry-level version is suitable for use as a file, print, intranet, and infrastructure server. Network Load Balancing and Microsoft Cluster Service aren’t included in the Windows 2000 Server, so this product is not intended to be used as a web server for large web sites. Neither is it intended as a database server, unless the load is modest and the demands for availability are small. But this version includes IIS 5.0, which makes it great for smaller intranet or Internet solutions. There is, however, a way to use this server as a member in large web clusters. By installing Application Center on it, you also get support for Network Load Balancing, and suddenly you are able to cluster IIS, which means that you can handle large web sites using Windows 2000 Server as a platform. So as a web server using Application Center, this version is a good choice for running your web sites. The cost of the operating system is also less than its other siblings too, which makes it even more attractive for these solutions.

Windows 2000 Advanced Server includes tools for enhancing scalability and availability from the start. Network Load Balancing is included, as well as Microsoft Cluster Service. This makes it an ideal platform for running e-commerce and lines of business applications. Advanced Server is also a good choice for medium-sized databases, and for messaging servers like Microsoft Exchange Server, providing good availability to these applications. Since the cost of this server version is higher than the Windows 2000 Server, we would not recommend it as a platform for web sites, regardless of whether they are on an intranet, an extranet, or the Internet. If you are building that kind of application, you are better off using Windows 2000 Server with Application Center on it.

Microsoft’s flagship when it comes to operating systems is undoubtedly the Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. Upon its release, this was the most powerful operating system from Microsoft ever. This server was designed for enterprises that demand the highest level of availability and scalability. This edition is, however, not available from retailers. The only way to purchase a Datacenter Server is by contacting one of the Microsoft OEM partners. To be able to sell these systems, the OEM companies need to comply with the Datacenter Server program. This means both hardware and software are put under close examination to ensure they meet the high standards that can help enterprises reach 99.999 percent uptime on their systems. No updates to the Datacenter systems, be they hardware or software, are allowed without this close exami- nation. This way it is not possible for an administrator to install insecure code or devices, which was, as you saw earlier, the cause of a large number of unnecessary reboots.

Table 2-1 gives an overview of the feature set included with the different versions of the Windows 2000 Server family.

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