Paul Thurrot has done a great pre-view of the soon to be released Windows Server 2003 x64 family of operating systems.
In addition to Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (see my preview), Microsoft is also prepping two x64-based Windows Server 2003 products, collectively known as Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions, for release. The Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions are comprised of Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Enterprise Edition, which roughly correspond to the similarly named 32-bit versions of Windows Server 2003. However, because they are based on the 64-bit x64 platform, these product editions can access far more RAM than their 32-bit brethren, placing them somewhere between Microsoft’s x86- and Itanium-based Windows Server versions.
From a functional standpoint, the Windows Server x64 Editions are based on the code for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1, see my preview /reviews/win2003sp1_beta.asp) and not on the original shipping version of Windows Server 2003. That means that these products include new SP1 features, like the Security Configuration Wizard (SCW, Figure) and all of the new security and bug fixes that are found in 32-bit Windows Server 2003 SP1. But since the x64 Editions of Windows Server 2003 don’t offer new features, per se, when compared to Windows Server 2003 with SP1, it doesn’t make much sense to run through every single new feature here. Instead, in this preview, I’ll call out the features that differentiate Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions from the 32-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 with SP1.
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Wow, Windows Server 2003 x64 Enterprise to Datacenter can handle 1 Terabyte of RAM! That is just amazing, obviously this providing new opportunities for Small and Medium sized businesses who are beginning to demand some of the power of the Enterprise.