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Microsoft Tests Two Flavors Of Windows Server

Last updated: 8/4/05

In addition to the initial beta test of the next version of Windows Server, Microsoft is also testing an early version of a stripped-down Windows Server that removes the graphical user interface and uses far less resources than the full version of the server software, according to the user instructions for the package.

The new version is presently called Microsoft Windows Server Code Name "Longhorn" Server Core (which still, for now, retains the Longhorn code name that was removed from the renamed next-generation operating system Windows Vista last week) and has been released as a closed beta test only to a limited group of Microsoft partners and other selected testers. Server Core runs from a command prompt and aims to let server administrators concentrate on a few specific server management tasks, cutting the time and management requirements for those functions. Longhorn Server Core allows management of some of the most common server configurations -- specifically, DHCP servers, file servers, DNS servers and Active Directory, according to the user instructions for the package.

The Server Core release also continues Microsoft's concentration on increased security in its server software. The Server Core installation only takes up 500 MB of disk space and thus reduces the amount of server "attack surface" that can be targeted by intruders, the company noted. Also, after Server Core is configured, the server can be managed locally and remotely from the command line, as well as remotely using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) or a Terminal Server connection.

The Longhorn Server Core package is strictly stand-alone and non-upgradable, according to Microsoft; users who need other functions or who want the Windows GUI will have to install the full Windows Server package from scratch. Microsoft plans to ship the final version of both packages on the same discs as a single SKU, with the choice of whether to use Server Core or the full Windows Server made at installation by the server administrator, according to company officials. No timeline for a public beta test or a final release is yet available.

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