We're building a new network with 5 locations and 200 users and would like to know if we should be building it on 2008 or 2003 servers.


Newer is typically better (when its not bleeding edge)

Windows 2008 is FIVE YEARS (in Microsoft time anyway) newer than 2003.

Quite a bit happened in those 5 years...

Unless you have a GOOD reason to go with 2003, I'd pick the newer model. ;-)

  • Price could be a factor. – Crash893 Nov 10 '09 at 22:13
  • 4
    [humor] Price is never a factor... just turn off the CEO and CFO's email, wait for them to complain, then turn it back on and say, "I'm not sure how much longer it will hold together. We need a new server..." Negotiate down from there. [/humor] – KPWINC Nov 12 '09 at 18:42
  • Price isn't a factor as Microsoft hasn't sold Windows 2003 for years, and they technically don't sell Windows 2008 any more. You should be buying Windows 2008 R2 and installing via downgrade rights if older OSs are needed. Otherwise you are getting ripped off. – mrdenny Jan 21 '10 at 9:50
  • I think you missed the "humor" tag... my comment (above yours) was not a serious one. ;-) – KPWINC Jan 27 '10 at 0:19

Unless you have a legacy application that doesn't support 2008, I don't see any reason to deploy a brand new netwrok with 2003.

IMO 2008 has proven itself as worthy a replacement to 2003.


Go with Windows Server 2008 R2. Thats your best bet to support the new Windows 7.


With 2008, you also get IIS7 and better support for advanced WCF features, if you decide to expand into WCF web services. I don't see a reason to not go for 2008 if you can.


2003 is a 6 year old platform. Put it in now and you'll likely be upgrading to 2008 in a year's time.

  • Why? Microsoft has a 10 year support window (minimum) for server products. – Beep beep Dec 17 '09 at 4:17
  • Server 2003 is going to extended support next year, and as newer hardware comes out you can bet that vendors won't be too keen on writing drivers. Ditto newer app platforms which will start requiring 2008 to run. – Maximus Minimus Dec 18 '09 at 0:52

Make sure you take into account the eventual need for x64. Exchange 2010 and later will only be available on x64, and Windows 2008 R2 only comes in x64, while 2008 comes in both x86 and x64.

  • 2003 comes in x64 too – Beep beep Dec 17 '09 at 4:17

As the other guys say go 2K8 unless you have a specific need for '03. That said now sounds like the ideal time to consider whether you really NEED Windows at all, it may well be the perfect OS for you but it might be worth doing a Pro/Con list at least vs. Linux or OSX...

  • Con: No group policy – ta.speot.is Jan 21 '10 at 7:00

Consider that a Systemstate Backup of a 2008 domain controller takes about 8,5 GB now. Don't know about other Roles...

But go for 2008, don't set up deprecated Software...


Don't expect to run Quickbooks Enterprise Qbi series via Quickbooks Database Manager on Windows Server 2008 if you have servers in Australia as the Australian version (only) doesn't support Windows Server 2008. See http://home.quicken.com.au/Pages/ProductDetails.aspx?pcode=27&pcatid=12

Very poor form Intuit / Quicken / Reckon.

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