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Windows Server serves as the brand name for a group of server operating system under Microsoft. It is a more dominant version of the user desktop’s operating system and is specially designed to run only on servers. It is designed to handle the complex and large-scale corporate networking, databases, enterprise-scale messaging, Internet/intranet hosting, application, and communication. Microsoft unveiled its first product under this brand name in the year 2003 by launching Windows Server 2003.

The first server of 2003 was one of the first Microsoft Windows that had semi-automated testing for the bug. The earlier versions of the Windows server were focused on security, networking, stability, and improvements of the file system, whereas the latest versions have the added features of better deployment facility. Windows Server is a part of Microsoft server’s products.

Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2

  • Windows Server 2003 version, a successor of Windows Server 2000 has more compatibility at running with older programs or applications, it is not necessary to upgrade existing programs of the server. Microsoft launched the product before and any newly developed features were made available for download. This proved beneficial for the client enterprises, as they only downloaded the required features and saved more storage space.

  • Windows Server 2003 R2 launched in 2005 is the updated version of the former one. This new updated version focuses on areas like Active Directory Federation Services, storage management, and simplified branch-office server deployment and management. Microsoft state that it provides improved quality in its web services, networking installation and integration, and improved capabilities for discrete-time Fourier series.

Windows Server 2008 And Windows Server 2008 R2

  • Windows Server 2008 launched in the year 2008. It is based on the Windows Vista features and has a special scaled-back installation without windows explorer shell known as Server Core. The entire configuration here is done with the help of command line interface or by remotely connecting to the machine through Microsoft Management Console. Its Active Directory now has added identity, rights management, and certification features. The added cluster validation wizard in the failover clustering feature processes the hardware and software individually to figure the best way for failover cluster to implement its configuration.

  • The minor updated version launched in 2009 is the Windows Server 2008 R2 also has a number of added administrative and security features that are similar to Windows 7. It has far improved virtualization capabilities upgradation namely Live Migration, Failover Clustering and more. Overall both the versions have rewritten networking stack, improved firewall, kernels, and filing system, and additional.NET framework technology according to Microsoft.

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2

  • Windows Server 2012 (WS2012) and Windows Server 2012 R2 (WS2012 R2), both are based on Windows 8. In the WS2012 version, the users can choose between Server Core and Server with Graphical-User-Interface. A new version of Task Manager is also provides added Control over IP address management.

  • WS2012 R2 has new features like automated tiering in storage space, duplication for VHD file format to reduce the size of original VHD files, policy cache is added that stores a copy of the domain joined machine’s policy on the client’s server. Office 365 is integrated into the new version.

Windows Server 2016

  • Windows Server 2016 is the latest version released by Microsoft and is based on Windows 10. Its Nano Server leaves an extremely smaller footprint compared to GUI and needs fewer updates and reboots. Secure Boot feature protects the startup environment against malware. Storage Space Direct makes a flexible storage system. Virtual machines itself can host other virtual machines through Nested Virtualization. Overall the new version is by far the best Windows Server. 

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