Editor's Desk

Walk, Don't Run

How fast will your company move to Windows Server 2003?

I’ve had a lot of network people tell me they’re ready to get off the wheel of constant upgrade cycles, set in motion by the demands of Microsoft’s financial statements. Many are dabbling in Linux. That’s wise, of course (though, how that slows down the upgrade wheel I don’t know). But I have another suggestion for you.

The idea comes from Comdex, where Microsoft set up a meeting for me with one of its early adopters. Len Couture, CIO for Enterasys Networks, talked for an hour about his company’s efforts with the platform then named Windows .NET Server 2003. Sure, Enterasys is just the kind of cutting-edge organization that can generate revenue based on its close relationship with Redmond, as it’s a network hardware provider. Part of Couture’s job is to prove to his company’s clients that the right technology choices can pay off.

Couture and his team intend to use Windows Server 2003 as a platform to deliver services to Enterasys partners. As part of that, they’ll develop two directory forests to manage users: Enterasys employees and those with partner firms. New functionality in Active Directory is making that possible. Likewise, they’re setting up access to legacy “information stores”—dated data—for internal users in a manner providing a single view.

One would think his would be a high-pressure job, fraught with distressing calls from executives demanding budget cuts, users clamoring for stable software, IT staff members demanding a break from the unrelenting upgrade cycles mandated by tight partnerships with companies like Microsoft...

Yet, what impressed me about Couture was his low-key approach to the work. The goals he’s set for himself and his staff are intense. But most likely, Couture’s graceful approach to his work is an outgrowth of being experienced in his profession. Those who have seen software releases come and go before make their jobs look easy and effortless. That’s not because the job is easy, but because they’re professionals who apply what they’ve learned through experience.

So here’s my suggestion: Use this version of Windows Server to approach your job the right way in your organization. You’ve been here before, faced upgrades, and here’s your chance to act like the elder statesman. Get a 120-day evaluation copy and do the kind of planning, testing and ROI calculations you’ve always secretly wanted to do but never took the time for. Then determine if there really are compelling reasons to deploy it. Be wise about it. No rush (as long as the evaluation date doesn’t come and go). You’re influential in your organizations. For many of you, if you say the company shouldn’t move to Windows Server 2003, it probably won’t. After all, you’re the ones who are in a position to know. On the other hand, you may discover some pluses you weren’t seeking and that may dispel any jaded attitude you might have toward this release.

Then tell me what you decide. I’m at dian.schaffhauser@mcpmag.com.

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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