Microsoft's Windows server team has released Windows Server 2003 R2 and a service pack update to Internet Security and Acceleration Server firewall.
Windows Server 2003 R2 is an interim release that is built on Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. It includes fixes and some features and improvements, but it is not considered a major release in the way that Longhorn Server is expected to be when it ships in 2007.
Among the improvements R2 offers are Active Directory Federation Services, which helps IT administrators identify, authenticate and authorize users across organizations and platform boundaries.
IT shops will now be able to purchase Windows Server 2003 R2 pre-installed on hardware through Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., and IBM, Microsoft said.
Microsoft also shipped ISA Server 2004 SP2, which also makes some enhancements to branch office security. ISA Server adds Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) caching, HTTP compression and improvements to its traffic prioritization techniques.