NEIL MCDONALD, Vice President and Research Director, Advanced Networking and Windows Strategies of computer industry analysts GartnerGroup, Inc., was the presenter at our June 2000 DACS general meeting. The topic was Windows 2000 deployment. Who will benefit from Windows 2000 and how quickly should it be deployed?
According to Neil Windows 2000 is the most stable ".0" release that Microsoft has ever shipped. Windows 2000 Professional and Server together promise potential savings in "total cost of ownership" (TCO). This depends, however, on a company's current environment. Companies that already have a managed environment (i.e. centralized control of application installations, etc.) will have the longest payback period of 3.5 years. Companies that don't currently have a managed environment, but meet other criteria might expect a payback in as little as 6 months. These other criteria would be that they already have a hardware upgrade plan over the next 3 years, plan to use the Win 2K management tools, and are willing to include so-called soft benefits in their calculations (e.g. reduced user down time).
Companies should plan carefully
for a Windows 2000 rollout. Conservative enterprises should at
least wait until the first service pack is released before undertaking
significant rollouts. Pilot programs could begin sooner as part
of an overall planning process. Those planning on a migration
of their Windows NT domains to an Active Directory setup of moderate
size could target for year- end 2000. The IntelliMirror features,
which help manage software across a network and ensure availability
of user data, will require more time to mature so companies should
wait until mid-2001 for
Another factor companies should
consider is the scarcity of Windows 2000 skills. If they train their
own staff, the staff will be in demand by other companies, so
companies should strive to keep their support staff happy. For
example, during deployment they should plan days without any
Neil also cautioned not to overrate the benefit of an all-Microsoft environment. Even where 100% Windows 2000 deployment is achieved, there will always be a new iteration of Windows to plan for. Companies that already have mixed environments that include Novell or Unix shouldn't necessarily abandon those platforms. Nor should companies with previous versions of Windows plan on upgrading to Windows 2000 in one fell swoop. Hardware upgrades or replacements will be required in many cases, and so it may be best to deploy gradually as machines reach replacement age. If an existing machine is upgraded, a best practice is to do a clean install rather than upgrading unknown, potentially corrupted prior installations of Windows.
DACS members should be pleased that we were able to have the respected GartnerGroup for the first time as a speaker. They try to be an objective source of industry information.
|Richard Corzo is a computer programmer currently working for Apelon, Inc. in Ridgefield, CT. He has contributed past articles on PC operating systems and utilities.|