Windows Server 2003 (sometimes referred to as Win2K3) is a server operating system produced by Microsoft, released on April 24, 2003. An updated version, Windows Server 2003 R2, was released to manufacturing on December 6, 2005. Its successor, Windows Server 2008, was released on February 4, 2008. It is based on Windows XP, basically becoming an enhanced version of XP. According to Microsoft, Windows Server 2003 is more scalable and delivers better performance than its predecessor, Windows 2000.
Windows Server 2003 Datacenter is designed for infrastructures demanding high security and reliability. Windows Server 2003 is available for IA-32, Itanium, and x64 processors. It supports a maximum of 32 physical processors on IA-32 platform or 64 physical processors on x64 and IA-64 hardware. IA-32 versions of this edition support up to 64 GB of RAM. With Service Pack 2 installed, the x64 versions support up to 1 TB while the IA-64 versions support up to 2 TB of RAM. Windows Server 2003 Datacenter also allows limiting processor and memory usage on a per-application basis.
This edition has better support for storage area networks (SANs): It features a service which uses Windows sockets to emulate TCP/IP communication over native SAN service providers, thereby allowing a SAN to be accessed over any TCP/IP channel. With this, any application that can communicate over TCP/IP can use a SAN, without any modification to the application.
The Datacenter edition, like the Enterprise edition, supports 8-node clustering. Clustering increases availability and fault tolerance of server installations by distributing and replicating the service among many servers. This edition supports clustering with each cluster having its own dedicated storage, or with all cluster nodes connected to a common SAN.