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While We're Waiting

While we're hanging loose on confirmation of this week's biggest news (AMD's dual-core server processors release) and next week's (Microsoft's 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003), let's clean up a few odds and ends, shall we?

For instance, updating how well the Windows Server 2003 service pack works with third-party apps. Turns out it breaks a few more than anyone knew about at release. And once again, the list includes some first-party Microsoft applications as well. We knew about the issues with Small Business Server, but you can add Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 Standard, Exchange Server 2003, and Systems Management Server 2003 to the list as well, at least for now. Again, this is hardly unexpected, and so far the failure rate beats what Microsoft saw with the release of Windows XP SP2. But that hardly matters to you when you're getting BSOD errors. So, be aware of what's up and make sure you've tested thoroughly in a lab environment if possible before risking a load of downtime at your company.

Meanwhile, the data center itself is changing quite a bit -- driven partly by the continual advances in technology, but also by such external requirements as security and compliance, not to mention internal issues such as reliability. In serverland, you can add heat dissipation to that list, of course, as racks get more loaded, blades shrink space and grow output, and your AC bill goes through the roof. The pace of change is accelerating, too. That's a lot of balls in the air, with a lot less time to assess them. Make sure to check out our report on the changing data center; you may find that other enterprises' real-world examples match your own.

Finally, all the movement in the tech arena with servers has us wondering about a question that popped up recently: Has dealing with your server setup gotten harder or easier over the years? There's been so much movement in the past five years, with faster boxes, blades, Linux, a new Windows, clustering options and seemingly a thousand other developments that have changed the server room and the results your company gets. Mostly for the better, we're guessing.....or is it? It's a long way away from homogeneous mainframe installations (although there are some of you living that slightly outmoded lifestyle even now). But as ever, choice can be liberating -- or confusing. So we'd like to know how you feel about the current era of servers, whether your enterprise is 10 or 10,000 people. Take our poll and let us know what you think.