Microsoft has taken steps to address customers who are increasingly reluctant to move quickly to new operating systems, but continue to demand new features without waiting for extending periods of time. The company has begun trickling features to market through feature packs and a new type of upgrade, the optional feature release. Unlike service packs, feature packs and releases add capabilities to an OS but are less taxing than a full OS upgrade. Latest feature packs since the release of Win 2003 include the Group Policy Management Console, Active Directory Application Mode, and Windows SharePoint Services, among others. According to META Group's Steve Kleynhans (client reg. req.), you can expect these types of updates to become increasingly common across all Microsoft product lines and you should build upcoming updates for Windows Server 2003 into rollout plans to ensure minimal disruption and enable complete functionality from their Windows Server 2003 environments.
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