IBM Gears Up for W2K

IBM has become one of the first major software vendors to announce details of its Windows 2000 software readiness program.

CARY, N.C. -- While Hurricane Dennis churned up the Atlantic 300 miles away, IBM Corp. was making some waves of its own. Big Blue has become one of the first major software vendors to announce details of its Windows 2000 software readiness program. Included in the program is a roadmap for the Windows 2000-enabling of IBM applications and middleware and the launch of a new services practice focused on implementing all-Microsoft solutions.

IBM’s movement toward Windows 2000 begins with a pre-launch support program that offers existing and prospective customers an opportunity to test IBM software products in non-production Windows 2000 Beta 3 RC1 and RC2 environments. The program, which will interact with customers through a Web site to be unveiled in September, offers downloads of current versions of IBM software products, updated where necessary with new installers and patches to ensure proper operation in a Windows 2000 environment. These products, however, do not exploit some of the key new features in Windows 2000.

Software included in the trial program are some of IBM’s better-known Windows products: DB2, Domino, MQSeries, SecureWay Communications Server, Websphere, VisualAge for Java, Net.Commerce and the IBM Java 2 SDK. Only DB2 and MQSeries are currently listed on Microsoft’s Windows 2000 compatibility list.

IBM plans to have about 20 updated products -- capable of exploiting some of Windows 2000’s new features -- available on launch day. The product upgrade is part of a five-phase approach to leverage Windows 2000. The first phase includes preliminary Active Directory enabling, support for roaming users, IntelliMirror and policy-based management. Subsequent phases extend support for other Windows 2000 features, with most of IBM’s products expected to offer full Windows 2000 exploitation in 2001.

Among the Windows 2000 features expected to be hardest to embrace is the Microsoft Installer. "This is a very large development effort in general," explains Patrick Gibney, director of Windows 2000 systems at IBM. He says about 40,000 lines of install code need to be ported from Install Shield to the Microsoft Installer.

Gibney says achieving "Certified for Windows 2000" status is not a first-priority concern for IBM. He notes that some of the requirements to achieve certification conflict with IBM design goals, and that for the moment it’s not clear how many, if any, IBM products will be tested and certified by Microsoft.

IBM also decided it was time to tap the huge portion of the services market for implementing Microsoft BackOffice technology. To address this market sector, IBM launched its Enterprise Services for Microsoft Technologies (ESMT) program. Through the program, IBM plans to offer Windows 2000 consulting services, application development services, technical support, education and desktop management for deployments that may not include any IBM hardware or software.

IBM Readies for Windows 2000

  • Level 1 -- Ready at Windows 2000 launch
  • Limited Active Directory support, Roaming Users, IntelliMirror and Policy-based management.

    • Level 2 -- Delivery in early 2000

    Extension of Active Directory support, partial integration of security, use of the Microsoft Installer, MMC support

    • Level 3 – Delivery in late 2000

    Complete Active Directory and security system support, COM+ support, power management support and functionality in -- but not exploitation of -- 64-bit environments

    • Level 4 -- Delivery in late 2000/early 2001

    Possible "Certification for Windows 2000" for select products, added support for Datacenter Server SMP and clustering features

    • Level 5 -- 2001 and later

    Globalization of products, WMI support, full 64-bit exploitation