Windows Server 2003 SP2 is out

Microsoft has made available for download service pack (SP) 2 for the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft made available for download on March 13 service pack (SP) 2 for the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003.

The patches and fixes in SP2 are cumulative and will work on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1 machines. It also will update Windows Storage Server R2; Windows Unified Data Storage Server; Windows Compute Cluster Server; Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2; and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition systems. Here is the 32-bit Windows Server 2003 SP2 update; the 64-bit version is here.

With Windows Server 2003 SP2, "one interesting thing I haven't seen in any previous service pack is the inclusion of a 'Hotfix Scan Tool,' blogged Windows Server Most Valuable Professional Jeff Centimano. "This tool identifies hotfixes that may be rolled back when you install SP2."

Other new SP2 features, according to Microsoft, include:

* Windows Deployment Services, which is a redesigned and updated version of Remote Installation services;

* Scalable Networking Pack, which allows users to tweak performance and scalability by supporting "networking technologies focused on eliminating operating system bottlenecks associated with network packet processing";

* WiFi Protected Access 2 support;

* Improved IPsec filter management;

* "Firewall per port" authentication;

* Microsoft Management Console 3.0 support; and

* Performance improvements when used with Windows virtualization and SQL Server

At this rate, I wonder if SP3 for Windows Server 2003 will beat Windows XP SP3 -- currently scheduled for arrival some time in 2008 -- out of the gate...