Microsoft released Windows Server 2003 R2 to manufacturing. The updated version of the operating system brings new features and functionality.
Speaking via a Webcast, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Server and Tools at Microsoft, said that security remains a focus and Microsoft is striving to make Windows Server 2003 "the most secure operating system on the planet." A key security focus area for Microsoft is identity management which is based on the capabililities of Active Directory.
R2 introduces Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), which allows sharing identity information between businesses thereby further extending single sign-on technology. Microsoft partnered with numerous companies, including IBM, Citrix, Quest Software, BMC Software, Computer Associates, Ping Identity, Centrify, IntelliSafe Technologies, and Internet2, each of whom are building upon Active Directory Federation Services to enable more thorough support in commonly used applications.
Centrify, Ping Identity, Quest Software are extending ADFS authentication to non-Windows platforms. BMC Software, Computer Associates, IBM, and Internet2 are building interoperability with ADFS into their existing extranet access management and identity federation solutions. Citrix and IntelliSafe Technologies are building support for ADFS into their applications to provide cross-domain single sign-on and federation.
Windows Server 2003 R2 also brings improvements to virtual machine technology, branch office management, and storage management.
Muglia said Microsoft intends to produce a major operating system release every four years with a minor release every two years. Windows Server 2003 R2 represents a minor release. A major update to the operating system is expected by 2007.
You can download a trial version of the software and learn more about the new features and capabilities at Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 Web site.