Installing Windows 2000? Not for a While Says IDC

A study conducted by International Data Corp. shows that organizations of all types and sizes will wait from six to 18 months before beginning broad implementations of Windows 2000.

A study conducted by International Data Corp. (IDC, www.idc.com) shows that organizations of all types and sizes will wait from six to 18 months before beginning broad implementations of Windows 2000.

Dan Kusnetzky, program director for operating environments and serverware at IDC, says most of the problems Windows 2000 will encounter while trying to get to the data center revolve around Microsoft's own mistakes, not Y2K or system lockdowns. "Microsoft has not done a good job of being a good friend of the IT department," Kusnetzky says. "They've been of the approach that if we surround them with Windows technology, they'll have to adopt. Well that's not how you make friends."

In late 1998, the firm surveyed 788 end-user sites in the United States and Canada. The results are presented in two reports: Windows Adoption: Windows 98 vs. Windows NT and Windows NT Server Study.

Kusnetzky says IT departments now have a "show me" mentality when it comes to implementing the new platform. They are demanding that Microsoft demonstrate that the platform works in real deployments, is worth the implementation effort, fits their current environments, runs their businesses better and has an easier to understand licensing program. According to Kusnetzky, customers are also saying, "Show me Microsoft is going to be a good business partner, and not tell me that if I need a bug fixed I'm going to have to wait for the patch that will be out in 10 months."

The study also found strong growth for Linux. Thirteen percent of survey respondents reported using Linux. An IDC study conducted in 1997 uncovered Linux in only 14 sites, short of the 30 responses IDC set as a threshold for statistical significance.

Kusnetzky attributes Linux growth to new installs and more IT managers discovering Linux boxes installed beneath their notice within the enterprise. Linux, it seems, is a good platform for quick, low-budget internal projects, such as intranet deployments or Web servers. The free source code also lends itself to duplication across the environment via independent development teams.

Some of Microsoft's own Windows strategies are helping Linux along, according to Kusnetzky. Since Microsoft proposed the functional server approach, whereby applications run on different machines, administrators have been thinking in terms of services instead of operating systems. Suddenly, if they want to move to an Oracle database, they'll use the cheapest platform: Since it's free, that would be Linux.