RealTime IT News

Microsoft Readies Server Updates

Microsoft released new software updates and fixes to two of its core enterprise applications today.

In separate announcements, the company said a public beta is available for its upcoming Windows Server 2003 R2 product, as well as a comprehensive service pack for its SQL Server 2000 platform.

Both Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000 are powering a growing number of server rooms, clusters, mainframes and enterprise storage configurations. The platforms' 32-bit version replacements will be available in the next 18 months (Longhorn Server and Yukon), as well as the emergence of their 64-bit counterparts.

Microsoft said the updated release has more options for connecting to and controlling identities and access management, managing branch servers, setting up and managing storage options, and developing applications inside and outside an organizations traditional boundaries.

While the Windows Server 2003 family is broadening, R2 is focused on only three workloads: Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter editions. R2 is scheduled for the second half of 2005. Microsoft said Windows Server 2003 R2 will require the same version of client access licenses as the original release of Windows Server 2003.

"When Windows Server 2003 R2 is released, customers with servers covered by Software Assurance or Enterprise Agreements will be eligible to receive [R2] at no charge," Microsoft said on its Web site. "After R2 is made generally available, customers will receive it automatically when they order Windows Server 2003 software. All others can purchase the server license to get the R2 functionality."

Separately, Microsoft released its Service Pack 4 (SP4) for SQL Server 2000. The download includes fixes from SP1, SP2 and SP3a, as well as additional security improvements.

"SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) adds platform support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition, allowing 32-bit SQL Server 2000 applications to run on 64-bit platforms using the Windows on Windows emulator," Microsoft said.

SP4 also includes a new version of Microsoft XML (MSXML) version 3.0 SP6 and an update to the OPENXML statement so that systems administrators can use a custom-built XML parsing technology to make the recent version backward-compatible with MSXML 2.6. The service pack also contains Microsoft Data Access Components from version 2.8 SP1 except for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 platforms, where it is included with the operating system.

Microsoft said the latest SQL Server security improves Table Designer, Database Diagrams and Query Designer and includes new registry entries that cover added control over security, metadata and memory management.

The SP4 download is available through Microsoft's Web site; however, the service pack itself cannot be rolled back, the company said.