Compatibility of server 2008 64bit with Server 2003 Domain Controller

Posted on 2009-04-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I will be building an additional windows server for a network currently housing a single windows server 2003 standard edition.
The current server is used as a domain controller, Terminal Services, File Server, Application server.
The new server will offload the tasks of Application Server and Database Server with SQL Server Standard Edition.
My main question was in regards to whether or not to go to a windows server 2008 64bit. Are their any compatibility issues I would find with doing this compared to just joining another server 2003 server to the domain? I have no experience with server 2008 yet, as I have always used 2000/2003.
Question by:bnoyzy
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LVL 58

Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 2000 total points
ID: 24066739

Running the 64-bit edition of Server 2008 will not cause you any issues while integrating it with your existing 2003 domain. The architecture of the Operating System being run is independent of that of the domain. In addition, since the machine will only run as a Member Server, there will be no Active Directory upgrades required.

You will need 64-bit drivers for configuring the 64-bit edition of the server. All new servers from the larger manufacturers (HP, Dell etc.) are 64-bit capable and will have 64-bit drivers published for your use.


Expert Comment

ID: 24068106
As long as you have any domain controllers running earlier versions of windows you will not be able to raise your domain function level to Windows 2008 level , which is not that much differ comparing to move from NT to 2000/20003 functional level , and the structure of the Server edition (32 or 64 bit ) will not effect the domain itself as mentioned earlier . If your server meets the hardware requirement for Win 2008, I strongly recommend using it  ( keep in mind that 5 years of development after 2003 release is worth of consideration ).
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 24068727

The author has clearly stated the machine will only be offloading the roles of "Application Server and Database Server with SQL Server". They never stated it will be acting as a Domain Controller, and there is therefore no issue caused due to functional levels or loss of fidelity within Active Directory.

A 2008 Member Server will readily integrate into any domain, no matter what OS the DCs run or whether it is 32-/64-bit.

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Author Closing Comment

ID: 31566542
Thanks for you answer, I did not think there would be any issues but I just wanted to be sure before spending the money. Would it be a large advantage to take the Terminal Services over to the 2008 system? I heard there are some big improvments in that area for 2008.
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 24070666
If you move a Terminal Server to a 64-bit machine, you can make it more financially-viable as you can address more than 4GB of RAM... and therefore you aren't limited to some rediculously low number of sessions per server.

LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 24070668
And sorry, yes, there are major improvements in terms of TS Web Access, TS RemoteApp and TS Gateway in Server 2008's Terminal Server implementation.


Author Comment

ID: 24070869
Yes Remote Apps sounds so much better. Especially for those times when you wanted a user to use TS for a single application and would have to open an entire session for them to use it.

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