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Microsoft Readying Windows Server 2003 R2 Beta

Microsoft is readying its first public beta of Windows Server 2003 R2, with the full release to be available in the second half of the year, the company said Tuesday at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference.

The upgrade to Windows Server 2003 not only includes Service Pack 1, which adds new security capabilities, but also features new technologies in the areas of branch office management; identity and access management; storage management; and Unix interoperability, said Samm DiStasio, director of the Windows Server Product Management Group at Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.

Once R2 is available, which is expected in a couple of weeks, the beta can be accessed at the following link:

DiStasio that while some observers viewed R2 as simply a wrap-up of technologies that otherwise would have been released in individual service packs, the release is actually an integrated upgrade with new technology that adds real value to Windows Server 2003.

"It's not a roll-up," DiStasio said. "There are some significant [new] scenarios here. While we did roll in some of the feature packs, we also brought new value to [the product]."

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