Microsoft Pushes Customers to Upgrade to Windows 2000
Microsoft Corp. is turning up the heat on customers to move to Windows 2000.
Late last month in New Orleans, Microsoft’s (www.microsoft.com) David Thompson preached to the converted during his keynote speech at the Windows 2000 Deployment Conference. Thompson, vice president of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 Server product group, gave IT administrators who were already motivated enough to come to a conference on Windows 2000 a sales pitch on the operating system to spur them on to faster deployment.
Microsoft also recently sent 400 program managers, developers, test engineers, software design engineers, and technical writers on the road in a program called Windows 2000 Door-to-Door. The group of technology evangelists pitched the upgraded operating system to 1,400 customers and channel partners around the world.
"It resulted in accelerated planning and deployments," Thompson says. One company, Marconi PLC (www.marconi.com), committed to a 30,000 desktop rollout; another company, Christiana Care (www.mcdhealth.org), will do a quicker rollout of Active Directory than originally planned.
Speed of deployment is a critical issue for Microsoft. The company needs to sell a lot of Windows 2000. Buffetted by reduced earnings expectations and anti-trust trial difficulties, Microsoft needs to move high volumes of Windows 2000, a key strategic product for Microsoft and the cornerstone of wide-ranging initiatives across many Microsoft product lines.
Industry observers have been predicting slow rollouts of Windows 2000 across corporate America, projecting that many companies will wait until 2001 or later to deploy. The same week Microsoft was holding the deployment conference in New Orleans, industry analyst GartnerGroup Inc. (www.gartnergroup.com) was throwing cold water on the Windows rollout schedule at the analyst's San Francisco conference on Windows in the enterprise.
At least 70 percent of the Windows NT Server installed base will skip Windows 2000, GartnerGroup analyst Tom Bittman told attendees. Microsoft plans to release an upgrade of Windows 2000 code-named Whistler in 2001.
Microsoft's Thompson approached his keynote speech by presenting negatives about Windows 2000 and then attempting to debunk them. He organized his presentation into what he called 10 myths about Windows 2000. They included bullet points such as Windows 2000 can’t do 24X7; Few companies will move to Windows 2000 anytime soon; If you want reliable and scalable Web servers, Unix is the only real choice; and Few applications run on Windows 2000.
"For the last year, we’ve been running Windows 2000 as the distributed infrastructure at Microsoft. You don’t have to wait three releases for this product," Thompson said. He explained the high-profile Nasdaq stock monitoring system implemented on Windows NT by Unisys Corp. (www.unisys.com) and that Microsoft has been running Windows 2000 since Jan. 1. "This is the most tested software product we’ve released," Thompson declared, ticking off some statistics of the Windows 2000 development process, such as the 814 builds of the operating system between Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000; the 5,000 person development, testing, and marketing team; and an estimated $1 billion investment.
Some of the large e-commerce sites Windows 2000 is handling as an enterprise-class Web server include www.microsoft.com; Dell Computer Corp. (www.dell.com); Barnes and Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com); and Mary Kay Inc. (www.marykay.com), Thompson said.
He also aimed to deflect criticism that the operating system had few applications that support it. "More than 4,000 [Windows 2000 Ready] applications are available today, and more than 4,500 more are being readied," he said.
Thompson emphasized for the IT administrators a story that Microsoft has been telling for some time: There are benefits to incremental deployments. "We spent a lot of time trying to design things so you could do incremental upgrades. You can upgrade pieces in your enterprise and gain advantage today. You get a better Web server, a better file server, and faster print servers with color," Thompson said.
Some analysts warn IT administrators to keep a close eye on incremental deployments so that a network doesn’t become Windows 2000-dominated without an overarching vision for the infrastructure.
10 Myths about Windows 2000
- Windows 2000 can’t do 24x7
- Few applications run on Windows 2000
- Windows 2000 is big and slow
- If you want reliable and scalable Web servers, Unix is the only real choice
- Windows isn’t secure
- Business Windows can’t do laptops
- Deploying Windows 2000 requires two years of planning
- Upgrading from Windows NT 4.0 is difficult; migrating from another platform is impossible
- Windows systems are too hard to manage
- Few companies will move to Windows 2000 anytime soon
Source: Microsoft Corp.