The release of a new version of an operating system always brings up lots of questions. Is it worth the time and trouble to upgrade? What are the potential problems? How do I prepare for testing and evaluation and maybe for deployment? These decisions are especially complex in this situation because Windows Server 2003 is not a revolutionary change from Windows 2000. Instead, it incorporates hundreds of improvements, large and small, that you'll need to evaluate, both separately and as a whole, to justify an upgrade.
Windows Server 2003 also represents the first time in the history of Microsoft's NT-based product line that the desktop code has been released separately from the server code. By the time Windows Server 2003 products reach the market, XP will have been available for over a year. To deploy Windows Server 2003, then, you'll need to know how to manage a complex mix of Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 and NT servers accessed by any one of a half-dozen Windows clients, not to mention a wide variety of third-party clients.
This book is designed to lead you through the complexities of a full Windows Server 2003 deployment in a mixed operating environment. It starts with installing a single server and moves in logical progression through upgrading additional servers, installing hardware, handling name resolution, deploying and integrating Windows Server 2003 DNS, installing and configuring Active Directory, and making Windows Server 2003-based resources available to authorized clients, both on the local network and across the Internet. The release of Windows Server 2003 also represents a milestone because Microsoft has finally gotten truly fanatical about security, so this book pays special attention to the new security features.
Each chapter is constructed to present design principles first, followed by process descriptions that help you identify interoperability issues, and finally the procedures you'll need to install and configure the Windows Server 2003 features covered by the chapter. Each chapter starts off with a list of new features in Windows Server 2003 along with any significant improvements to features carried over from Windows 2000. Experienced Windows 2000 designers and administrators can use this list as a checklist to guide their evaluations.
My approach to presenting process details for Windows Server 2003 features reflects my background as a Naval nuclear power plant operator. In the nuclear program, it's not enough to know how to operate a piece of equipment. You have to know the principles behind each element of the equipment's design, how the equipment integrates into the plant as a whole, and how the equipment will affect plant operations if it fails in a variety of circumstances. I was fortunate because this experience allowed me to see how a team of operators, each with an encyclopedic knowledge of the equipment under his control, can keep complex systems running smoothly and even make the job seem easy. I hope to contribute something to your knowledge of Windows Server 2003 so that you can build the same kind of team in your IT organization.