Feedback from Microsoft Windows 2000 projects reveal domain consolidation followed by server consolidation and desktop lockdown are the most popular features with customers.
Less impressive is Win2000's ability to consolidate multiple applications on a single server, a functionality whose smooth implementation remains "two releases away", according to Gartner research director John Enck.
At the bottom of the customer interest list to date is Win2000's Hierarchal Storage Management for backup consolidation.
One key to a successful Win2000 project is to allot at least three months for application testing and "six if you can afford it", Enck said.
He also stressed the critical importance of the Active Desktop (AD) design phase to a successful migration project.
Projects embracing more than 5000 users should allow three to six months to work through the AD design process.
Window's .Net Server, the successor to Win2000 Server, will usher in a long list of "very helpful" AD features when it ships next year, Enck said.
However, he warned that .Net domain controllers are incompatible with Win2000 so the new features will not be accessible in a mixed .Net/Win2000 server forest.
Windows XP, the client side of .Net, does not add enough to corporate environments to qualify as a significant upgrade to the Win2000 client, according to Gartner.
For shops that have already begun converting to Win2000, switching to a WinXP client will add significant delays and an upgrade should be considered only if ROI can be proved.
Australian enterprises appear to be migrating to Windows 2000 at an even more sedate rate than their US counterparts.
But anecdotal evidence suggests they are taking a more rigorous cost justification approach to the exercise than many US companies.
A straw poll among IT professionals attending Gartner's 2001 Asia-Pacific symposium indicated 25 to 30 per cent of large organisations have yet to start planning their migration.
The comparable figure for 230 US corporations surveyed by Gartner in May was about 11 per cent.
About 40 per cent of US organisations surveyed were in the planning stage and another 40 per cent were less than halfway through deployment.
Against that total of 80 per cent, a show of hands among 200 delegates at a Win2000 symposium session suggested the equivalent Australian figure could be around 60 per cent.
US migration rates have been slower than expected not because of any intrinsic Win2000 failings but because of the sheer magnitude of the job plus general economic malaise, according to Gartner.
Many US migrations were being decided with little business justification of benefits, Enck said.
They are being driven by top-down selling of the changeover by CEOs who "have got religion about Win2000" from the business press, he said.
Not so in Australia, claimed Frank Favetti, practice director for technology infrastructure at Microsoft solutions provider Avanade Australia.
Avanade, a Microsoft and Accenture joint venture, is currently helping implement at least half a dozen large Win2000 migrations.
Total cost of ownership and return on investment calculations have been prime decision factors in the decision in each case, according to Favetti.