The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Scalable Networking Pack

The Windows Server 2003 Scalable Networking Pack delivers support for network acceleration and hardware-based offload technologies providing scalability and performance enhancements to existing and future Windows Server 2003 investments. The Scalable Networking Pack provides IT pros the ability to cost-effectively scale their network-based applications and services to meet the growing demands of today’s highly interconnected world.

The architectural innovations provided in the Scalable Networking Pack (TCP Chimney Offload, Receive-side Scaling [RSS]and NetDMA) optimize server performance and network throughput. This provides operational gains for a number of applications including storage, backup, Web hosting, TCP-based media-streaming workloads. When combined with compatible network interface hardware, the Scalable Networking Pack helps remove operating system bottlenecks, such as CPU and memory bandwidth chokepoints.

By enabling existing Windows Server 2003 installations to benefit from the hardware offload capabilities found in the latest network interfaces, the Scalable Networking Pack can obviate the need to purchase new servers or replace existing ones. It costs less to purchase new NIC than to replace servers or add processors. Through the combination of the Scalable Networking Pack and a compatible network interface, IT pros can easily benefit from the performance and scalability gains made possible by today’s faster networks, and more effectively utilize their multiprocessor server investments.

The networking innovations included in the Scalable Networking Pack do not require changes to applications or network management tools nor does it require administrator intervention. The transparent integration of the Scalable Networking Pack with the existing Windows networking stack means organizations retain the security, reliability and application compatibility benefits already experienced with Windows Server 2003 without any administrative overhead.

Note that TCP Chimney offload and NetDMA will not work when:

  • Windows Firewall is enabled
  • IPSec is enabled
  • IPNAT — NAT is enabled
  • Third-party and ISA firewalls are installed
  • When NDIS 5.1 intermediate drivers are installed

For more information on the Scalable Networking Pack, check out:



Thomas W Shinder, M.D.




MVP — ISA Firewalls

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