What's New

A large number of Windows Server 2003's most visible changes are in the area of server management. An entirely new Group Policy Management Console, for example, makes it easier to manage enterprise-wide group policy configuration, automate that configuration, and more. A wide array of new command-line tools makes management more efficient and easier to automate through batch files and other means. Windows Server 2003 even includes command-line utilities that enable you to directly work with Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Windows's universal management foundation. Unix administrators working with Windows Server will especially appreciate the new command-line tools, which allow a much higher degree of server management without using less-efficient graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

One of the coolest new management features is Windows Server 2003's built-in support for headless servers. Today, most Windows-based data centers are filled with racks of servers, and key components in those racks include a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and some type of keyboard-monitor-mouse switch. Most server hardware requires a keyboard, at least, for the server to boot properly, and you can't completely manage most servers without at least a keyboard and monitor because power on self test (POST) and BIOS configuration screens aren't available over remote connections. Headless servers, however, can be completely managed without an attached keyboard, monitor, or mouse. In the "Headless Servers" section of this chapter, I explain Microsoft's hardware specification for headless servers and show you how to configure and manage them in your environment.