There are numerous articles about how to enable System Restore on Windows Server 2003. My question is, why is it not there in the first place? One would think a service like this is even more important on a server where long term stability is paramount than on a workstation.
There are probably lots of different reasons why it's not enabled.
My reason is that System Restore isn't the panacea that you think it is. You're restoring a computer back to a specific state (of the whole OS) at a particular point in time. Can you imagine the problems that could cause should you enable this on a server running AD or perhaps DNS or DHCP?
IMHO it's the exact opposite of "long term stability".
As for 2003 servers, that's what the Volume Shadow Copy Service is for...restoring specific data back to a specific date/time.
Edited to add
System Restore also has the potential to make someone lazy (and lull them into a false sense of security) with regard to patches, installing software, etc. Generally with servers, more care needs to be taken when installing aforementioned items. Patches and software need to be tested before pushing them to production servers. The same kind of care doesn't necessarily have to be taken on workstations..
Lots of features are left off by default.
I personally think this is a good thing. It makes me research and understand ramifications of turning up some service or feature.
For instance, while I agree about the usefulness of System Restore, it does use resources, and it may not work as advertised. Do I want some well meaning engineer (or more likely, a marketing guy or gal) decide that it should be on by default?
Again, I think that when a vendor makes me understand what I am turning on, rather than deciding that they know better, is a good thing.
System Restore was only added to Windows to cut down on support calls by giving users a way to undo their most recent screw-up. While this might still be useful for a server in a lab or test environment it makes no sense at all in a production environment. Any admin caught enabling it on a production server should be rapidly escorted off the premises because their methodology is questionable at best.