One analyst is warning corporate customers planning to upgrade to Microsoft's Windows 2000 that they'll have to upgrade more than the operating system and the machine it runs on.
Most will have to rebuild their NT domains, add bandwidth, convert networks completely to TCP/IP and upgrade desktop machines, according to Wayne Kernochan, senior vice president of platforms at Aberdeen Group.
He said it would take customers six to 12 months to complete a Windows 2000 rollout on both desktop and server. Despite the pain involved, many will move anyway, he said.
"They'll go with NT 5.0. They won't forgo," Kernochan said. "Whether you want to eat your spinach at the beginning of the meal or later on, it's still going to taste bad."
The primary features in Windows 2000, previously known as Windows NT 5.0, are the Active Directory, which was designed to centrally manage network information and devices, and the Kerberos security system, which is fundamentally different from the security scheme in NT 4.0. Windows 2000 is expected to debut in about a year. Kernochan's specific recommendations for upgraders include the following:
To use Microsoft's Active Directory, customers should change their domain system from many small domains to fewer large domains because Active Directory runs better on a few large files.
Get the Zero Administration for Windows application programming interface on each desktop, which means upgrading all DOS and Windows 3.1 machines to 32-bit software.
To have security on the desktop, each desktop must be a Windows 2000 workstation because the security system needs to snake across and touch each PC.
All packaged applications being used will have to be upgraded to Windows 2000-compliant applications.
Jonathan Perera, Microsoft's lead product manager for Windows 2000, said he's recommending that customers start with pilot projects until they complete any year 2000 work, then deploy Windows 2000 incrementally.
"If someone wants to deploy Active Directory 100 per cent across the board right from the outset, they need to think about their infrastructure," Perera said.
He added that users can set it up right out of the box without making any infrastructure changes - but that means they won't get the benefits of the new features. Perera also recommends 128MB of memory on servers and 64MB on desktops.