Microsoft's vision of corporations migrating to Windows 2000 will likely become very clouded once IT managers realise the costs of adopting the much-anticipated technology, according to a study by researchers at the GartnerGroup.
According to the Gartner Group's numbers, it will cost between $US1250 and $2050 per desktop to migrate from Windows NT Workstation 4.0 to Windows 2000 Professional. The cost of moving from Windows 9x to Windows 2000 will be even higher, according to the report -- between $2015 and $3100 per PC.
"Enterprises must understand that total-cost-of-ownership reduction is not a justification for a Windows 2000 desktop migration," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director of the GartnerGroup, in the report. "Because of the high cost of migration, enterprises can actually lose money before they touch the first system."
The GartnerGroup arrived at its desktop-migration estimates based on a 2500-user, networked enterprise, and did not take into account costs associated with Windows 2000 Server and implementation of its Active Directory technology.
A key point is Windows 2000's relationship with third-party tools, Gartenberg said. Microsoft has put tools from other vendors in Windows 2000, and the operating system also includes the company's own tools utilities. However, "enterprises will have to continue some investments in third-party tools to shore up Windows 2000, which has some weaknesses in the areas of Active Directory, security, storage management, and server management," according to the GartnerGroup.
Microsoft officials did not comment, saying they had not seen the Gartner Group report and were unsure of the firm's methodology.
A representative did point to a Microsoft-commissioned study by the consulting company Arthur Anderson LLP, indicating that, although there will be costs associated with upgrading to Windows 2000 Professional, the costs will vary widely, and its "improved features" compared to previous Windows offerings "will offset the up-front investment".
"Organisations will encounter other up-front costs, including those resulting from the need for new hardware, administrator and end-user training, configuration and deployment of the new operating system, compatibility testing, and possible re-engineering of application software," the Arthur Andersen study said.
Publicly, Microsoft voices optimism that Windows 2000 will be released to manufacturing before the end of 1999, although many observers said it might not be ready until early 2000 -- and Microsoft officials lately have left the door open a tad for that possibility. Release Candidate 2 of Windows 2000, originally expected last week, will be released later this month, officials said.