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It Mostly Works -- So Far

Of all the applications that Microsoft tested with the new service pack for Windows Server 2003, it's somewhat ironic that the one thing that we know doesn't work well with the update is ... Microsoft's own Windows Small Business Server (SBS). And I should be clear right off the bat here: It was good (and smart) of Microsoft to point that out. Not that they trumpeted it -- you pretty much either have to go to Microsoft's own page for Small Business Server to get the warning, or have to have been on the lookout for software that would pose a potential conflict in the first place. But, when you think about it, it makes sense that SBS might have been one thing that didn't work seamlessly with Windows Server 2003 SP1, both because SBS is itself in beta testing for a service pack update sometime in the next couple of months, and because Windows Server 2003 SP1 will be a component of the final release of the SBS service pack. So, the word is out: SBS users should hang loose and wait for their own upgrade.

As for anything else, so far Microsoft's testing for a raft of major applications seems to have been on the mark, if the lack of stories about major problems with the update is any indication (and I have been checking for them). So, we here at Server Pipeline would love to hear your experiences with the WinServ update. Was it a breeze to install, and everything worked afterward? A few glitches? Blue screens of death and broken server connections? Let me know, and we'll print some of the more interesting and, hopefully, useful responses if and when we get them. Or, maybe you're still waiting to install it? We would certainly understand if there are those who don't want to be bug-testers-in-the-field for Redmond. We've reactivated our poll to see how you feel about that -- you can vote on the Server Pipeline home page or at our dedicated poll page.

One thing seems apparent, though: Microsoft's increased attention to security, with the Windows Server update and increased patch management and speed, should help it maintain a lead over Linux at the server level. A new Yankee Group survey sees an increased role for Linux at the application level, but notes that Linux will become more of a complementary server app sitting alongside Windows Server in corporate environments, with Linux growth likely coming at the expense of Unix flavors and Novell's NetWare. With the increase in migration of server virtualization down from the mainframe to smaller-form servers, it makes sense that server admins will increasingly be running combined Windows/Linux shops -- all the better to serve their end users without forcing them in one applications direction.