Network Basics: Windows 2000 Server Operating System

Windows 2000 Server operating system built on the strengths of the earlier Windows NT Server 4 by adding new features that made the new product faster, easier to manage, more reliable, and easier to use for large and small networks alike.

The most significant new feature in Windows 2000 Server is called Active Directory, which provides a single directory of all network resources and enables program developers to incorporate the directory into their programs. Active Directory drops the 15-character domain and computer names in favor of Internet-style DNS names, such as Marketing.MyCompany.com or Sales.YourCompany.com. (However, it still supports the old-style names for older clients that don’t deal well with DNS names.)

Windows 2000 Server came in three versions:

  • Windows 2000 Server was the basic server, designed for small- to medium-sized networks. It included all the basic server features, including file and printer sharing, and acted as a web and e-mail server.

  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server was the next step up, designed for larger networks. Advanced Server could support server computers that have up to 8GB of memory (not hard drive — RAM!) and four integrated processors instead of the single processor that desktop computers and most server computers had.

  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server supported servers that have as many as 32 processors with up to 64GB of RAM and was specially designed for large database applications.

For small networks with 50 or fewer computers, Microsoft offered a special bundle called the Small Business Server, which included the following components for one low, low price:

  • Windows Server 2003: The operating system for your network server.

  • Exchange Server 2003: For e-mail and instant messaging.

  • SQL Server 2000: A database server.

  • FrontPage 2000: For building web sites.

  • Outlook 2000: For reading e-mail.