My company is going to build 2 new server computers. One computer will be replacing our current database server, while the other computer will be a backup for our web server (running Windows Server 2003). My question is, is it necessary upgrading from Windows Server 2003 to 2008 since I have an extra copy of 2003 already? Are there features of 2008 that are absolutely necessary for a server environment? Back then, when we upgraded from 2000 to 2003, the speed of our website along with our database increased significantly, so if 2008 does exactly the same thing, then upgrading would be the most feasible option.
Not to be too negative, but if your company is relying on your expertise to stay afloat, then they need to think twice. You upgraded from 2K to 2003 and had a performance increase. What changed? You don't know? If you don't know the specs of your current sever, and can't compare them with 2008, then what good are you to your company. Sure, asking questions of others is a GREAT idea, but what it truly shows is you are way in over your head... That being said, if your server(s) are currently supporting your company and it's infrastructure, and you're not planning on future expansion that needs the features 2008 may provide, then 2003 should be fine.
Yes this kg4icg person is talking rubish! When you say that you have Windows server 2003 is that just 2003 or is it 2003 R2? There is quite a difference as Microsoft changed the kernel quite dramatically. Server 2008 is not all that it is cracked up to be. It does offer more features that server 2003 but it is not worth the extra coxt. These two operating systems compaired on the same system doing simple server tasks (email,file,print ect) would basically be that same. I would recommend sticking with Server 2003 as it is a ver solid operating system and will do everything that you require.
For web serving I stick with the more commonly used AMP (Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) under *nix. While Windows Server is reserved for things like DC, DNS and Exchange server.
In a nutshell, picking an OS for their main forte only.
So in terms of improvements (speed, features, usability... etc) from 2003 to 2008 R2 under IIS I wouldn't have clue as I don't use it. But I can tell you the improvement in domain controller management has been greatly improved (what I use 2008 R2 for mainly). There's also many new features requiring Win7 clients described in this article that I'm still exploring in my testing environment. Performance-wise it's difficult to gauge as hardware was completely revamped.
What would really be beneficial to your company is employing a sys admin that is multi-purpose. A fast learner when it comes to implanting open-source solutions on top of solid Windows Server knowledge. They should be expected to know almost everything about a SMB sized network setup as well.
The change in kernel from 2008 to 2008 R2 alone (NT6 to NT6.1) warrants the upgrade IMO (for my usage anyway). But if you still have lots of clients on XP and don't plan to upgrade them anytime soon, sticking with 2003/R2 isn't such a bad idea.