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Analysis: Companies Slow to Adopt Windows 2000 for Many Reasons

Although businesses generally agree that Windows 2000 is far superior to Windows NT as an enterprise operating system, they have been slow to adopt the technology, according to a GartnerGroup analysis. The question is why.

As reported earlier by ENT, licenses of Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server will pass the 1 million mark sometime this month. Still, Microsoft Corp. expected better short-term sales figures for its Windows 2000 offerings, and Gartner’s Thomas Bittman says there are a number of reasons why they have not materialized. “The larger the server, the longer it takes for a company to commit to and fully deploy a new technology, so Gartner doesn't expect to see companies pushing the limits of Windows 2000 Server scalability until at least the end of the year,” Bittman writes.

The report points out many of Windows 2000’s advantages -- it scales much better than NT; it is much more reliable than NT (about three times as reliable, according to Gartner’s estimate); far fewer reboots are necessary, leading to greater uptime; and Active Directory is a much more enterprise-ready technology than NT’s domain system -- but those positives, when weighed against the negatives, have led to its slow acceptance in corporate environments.

“Before a company can swap out Windows NT and replace it with Windows 2000 Server, they must thoroughly test all of their applications for compatibility, which can take time and talent away from other projects,” according to the analysis. “Also, many companies may have just spent a tremendous amount of time and skills stabilizing a Windows NT environment, and they aren't willing to throw that investment away.”

In addition, Active Directory migration is fraught with numerous potential land mines for companies, including a lack of properly-trained employees, complex designs that, once implemented, are hard to undo, and in-house politics.

Even given these difficulties, Gartner sees light at the end of the tunnel for Redmond’s server products. “Windows 2000 Server (and AD) deployments will continue at a gradual, pragmatic pace, experienced skills will become easier to find, and gains will be made at the very high end -- thereby giving this software more credibility with conservative technology adopters.” – Keith Ward

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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