Windows Server 2003 by the Numbers: One of the Biggest Product Launches in Microsoft History

REDMOND, Wash., April 23, 2003 — The launch of Windows Server 2003 marks one of the biggest product launches in Microsoft history. The goal for Windows Server 2003 was clear: create a comprehensive, integrated and secure technology infrastructure to help customers reduce costs and increase the efficiency of IT operations. But building software to accomplish this was, quite simply, the most ambitious and complicated programming effort ever at Microsoft. Here’s a quick look at some of the facts and figures that led to the Windows Server 2003 launch.

The Final Product: Numbers Speak for Themselves

Though not yet released, preliminary testing from customers and industry groups have found that the numbers they’re seeing imply that all that went into developing Windows Server 2003 has paid off.

  • Customers running beta versions of Windows Server 2003 report some noteworthy numbers:

    • IT infrastructures ran up to 30 percent more efficiently.

    • 20 to 30 percent reduction in the number of servers to perform the same workload

    • Performance levels up to twice as fast across all workloads

    • 20 percent reduction in overall management costs

    • 35 percent of customers were able to redeploy IT staff from server management to higher value projects

    • 50 percent reduction in deployment cost and 40 percent increase in stability over similar Windows NT Server 4.0 infrastructure

    • Build applications in half the time with twice the performance.

  • Number one in scalability and performance. Industry-leading Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPPC) benchmarks ranked Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000 as the fastest 32-way online transaction servers in the world, with 658,277 transactions per minute ( ), as of April 24, 2003). This achievement means that Windows Server 2003 offers the performance and scalability to operate mission critical applications with plenty of room for growth.

Customer, Partner Input Drives Windows Server 2003 Development

Microsoft engaged the feedback from hundreds of customers, industry partners and of thousands of independent testers to help build the Windows Server 2003 family. Customer input has come from a variety of initiatives:

  • Customer Preview Program, in which customers can order and evaluate an advance version of the product for a limited period;

  • Rapid Adoption Program, which provides key development customers advance code to help them plan, design, and implement support for Windows Server 2003 prior to the launch date;

  • Joint Development Program, which provides OEMs and software manufacturers access to production code before launch.

Customer and Partner Fast Facts:

  • How many copies of Windows Server 2003 preview code have been distributed?

    More than 1 million customers have received the Windows Server 2003 preview code, the highest level of distribution for any server in the history of Microsoft.

  • How many customers are in the process of deploying Windows Server 2003?

    Worldwide, at the time of launch more than 300 companies already have deployed Windows Server 2003 into their production environment.

  • What is the number of servers deployed?

    Approximately 10,000 on pre-RTM code, into production.

  • How many Windows Server 2003 applications will be available at launch?


  • How many will be Microsoft certified within 90 days?


  • How many are estimated to be available six months after launch?


  • How many customers are taking part in the Joint Development Program (JDP)?

    Currently there are 61 customers in the Windows Server 2003 Joint Development Program.

  • How many individuals have been trained and will be available to support Windows Server 2003?

    By launch, 86,400 individuals worldwide will be trained to deploy and support Windows Server 2003. By 90 days after launch, that number will reach nearly 110,000 individuals worldwide

Customer Feedback from the Lab: The Enterprise Engineering Center

The Enterprise Engineering Center (EEC) is a new set of lab facilities in which Microsoft replicates real-world IT environments to test Microsoft products such as Windows Server 2003. Customers are able to validate their planned upgrades, migrations and deployments and test for compatibility and
“deployment blockers,”
which enables Microsoft to improve the quality of its software before it is released.

“We want to make sure that our products are deployable from day one,”
says George Santino, Product Unit Manager, EEC.
“Customers shouldn’t have to wait until the release of Service Packs to realize the benefits of Microsoft products. With a facility like the EEC, we can address deployment issues before we ship the product so that customers can receive an immediate return on their IT investment.”

  • What was the first major product to undergo testing at the EEC?

    Windows Server 2003 was the first primary product to move through customer testing at the EEC.

  • How many customers tested Windows Server 2003 in the EEC?

    The EEC hosted 47 customer engagements involving Windows Server 2003.

  • What benefit does testing in the EEC provide to customers?

    Testing in the EEC is very efficient and customers are able to accomplish more in a shorter period of time. Customers are able to deeply and directly impact the quality and functionality of our software under development. Customers reported that testing at EEC lab accelerated their deployments 100 percent of the time by an average of 9.2 months.

  • How many changes to Windows Server 2003 resulted from EEC testing?

    Microsoft made an average of 15 design change requests per EEC customer engagement, or nearly 650 design changes total from EEC-derived input.

  • What percent of customers indicated that they would use the EEC for product testing in the future?

    100 percent. Several have already been back for additional visits.

The Largest Software Development Project in Microsoft History

Todd Wanke, project manager for Windows Server, was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day development of Windows Server 2003.
“My job was to make sure that, day after day, everyone on the development and testing teams was working toward the same quality milestones,”
says Wanke.
“Quality was our primary concern. We weren’t afraid to let the product release date slip if that’s what we needed to do for quality.”

  • How many people were involved in the development of Windows Server 2003?

    More than 5,000 developers worked over three years to produce the Windows Server 2003 code base. Over 2,500 testers ran assessments and testing. In total, nearly 10,000 people were involved in the project from start to finish

  • How many technology advances are built into Windows Server 2003?

    The new server platform represents 650 technology advances and enhancements

  • How many developer resources were put towards security?

    As part of the Trustworthy Computing initiative, Microsoft spent more than $200 million training more than 13,000 Windows Division employees on security-focused development techniques and new engineering process, resulting in a line-by-line security review of Windows Server 2003.

The Daily Grind: the

War Room


An important institution for the Windows Server 2003 development team was the
“War Room,”
where key development, testing and management team members met to discuss issues, settle disputes and
bugs – work to fix bugs identified through testing or through employee’s voluntary use of the day’s
the daily release of the most recent code base.

As overseen by Todd Wanke, the War Room was also where key decisions were made regarding what features would be shipped in Windows Server 2003, and which would be postponed till later versions. Although War Room meetings were based on camaraderie and a format of open discussion, passions often ran high. Andrew Cushman, group manager for Internet Information Services (IIS), was a frequent War Room attendee. He recalls one War Room meeting attended by visiting Microsoft employees from the company’s European offices.

“Our European colleagues were astonished by the intensity of the meeting and the authority delegated to teams’ War Room representatives”
says Cushman.
“People were very passionate about decisions made in the War Room because they understood the impact their decisions would have on thousands and millions of customers around the world.”

  • How often did War Room meetings take place?

    The War Room met at least every day, including Saturdays and Sundays leading up to key milestones and deadlines. The War Room record was four meetings in one day. As workloads picked up and War Team meetings were held daily, team members were allowed to bring their partners and kids to the weekend meetings.

  • When were builds released?

    A new build was released every day at 6 pm.

  • How many people met in the War Room?

    A core group of 30 managers met each meeting, although as many as 100 people attended some meetings.

  • How many people received Todd Wanke’s daily e-mail report on the progress of Windows Server 2003?

    Wanke’s daily email had 22,000 people on the To: line.

  • How many Krispy Kreme doughnuts were consumed on average at a War Room meeting?

    Five dozen.

  • The IIS 6.0 team celebrated how many births during the three-year development process of Windows Server 2003?

    A total of 20 births: 18 children and two grandchildren.

  • What was the IIS 6.0 team’s Xbox game of choice for Friday night tournaments?


Ending with a Bang: The Largest Microsoft Server Product Launch

A project that takes three years 7,500 developers and testers and tens of million of lines of code to complete deserves a party when all is said and done. The launch of Windows Server 2003 will fittingly be the largest server launch event in the history of Microsoft.

  • Approximately 2,500 attendees are expected at the main San Francisco launch event.

  • 173 other launch events will take place in 61 subsidiaries worldwide. An estimated 93,000 attendees will be present at U.S. events, with an estimated total of 168,000 attendees worldwide.

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