A New Outlook

Welcome to2001. The mere year 2000 is over, and for the zealots out there, the realdawn of the new millennium is here. I don’t expect we’ll see artificialintelligence in a super-computer named HAL or make first contact with alienlife forms. In fact, I’d settle for stable software with a decent userinterface that didn’t require Pentium III Xeons? We may not always get what wewish for, but it should still prove to be an interesting year for Microsoft,Windows 2000, and networking in general.

Before Iget started with some of my thoughts on 2001, I would like to introduce myself,and also introduce what I hope to bring to you when you open to this columnevery month.

My name isJeremy Moskowitz, and I’m an enterprise architect at InfoSystems Inc., amedium-sized consulting firm located in Wilmington, Del. My specialties includeWindows NT, Windows 2000, and Microsoft SMS, though I dabble in a little ofeverything. I perform work for a mixture of medium to really huge customers,and I get to see a lot of what’s out there and what’s not.

I’vewritten for other technical publications, including ENT’s sisterpublication -- MCP Magazine -- and I’ve co-authored a book on Windows2000 titled Teach Yourself Windows 2000 Server in 24 Hours. I’m workingon another Windows 2000 book right now.

In thiscolumn I’ll highlight some of my real-world experiences, tricks and traps, andsome of the general mayhem I encounter out there. Additionally, I’ll try toeducate you to some of the finer points of Windows 2000 and Active Directorydeployments as I encounter them. I encourage you to e-mail me regarding acurrent topic or proposing future topics you might like to see in this column.This column is for you: My hope is to be your conduit for getting real-worldinformation that you can digest easily and put into practice right away.

For thisfirst column, I want to digress from what will be my usual column format. I wantto take a whack at some predictions for the upcoming year. I’ll check back onmy predictions at the end of the year to see if I got any right or to offer acourse-correction to fine tune some of these predictions for 2002.

Windows2000: Ironically, 2001will be the year for Windows 2000. This is due to three factors. First, many ITdepartments are still catching up from all the little projects they needed toget done but couldn’t start due to the Y2K crisis. The glitch paralyzed most ITdepartments -- some for nearly two years. The projects put on hold are finallyleaving the queue. With the backlog behind them, I think IT departments willnow take Windows 2000 seriously. I predict that the current 20 percent upgraderate in 2000 will jump to somewhere between 50 to 60 percent in 2001 . I thinkthis will be because corporate America won’t be able to escape the barrage ofmarketing from Windows 2000, Whistler, and Blackcomb. People will start to getitchy when they get the impression from Microsoft -- true or not -- that 4.0might not have much life left past Service Pack 7.0.

Whistler: The first public beta of Whistler, thesuccessor to Windows 2000, was released late last year, and it has peoplescratching their heads. Microsoft’s official stance is that it’s targeted forthe consumer. What the consumer doesn’t know is why it’s targetedfor the consumer. Whistler promises to merge the Windows 9x code base with theWindows NT/2000 family. According to Microsoft, this will provide a commonprogrammatic interface -- especially for the .NET strategy -- and some newfeatures, too. Whistler Server will eliminate the need for Global Catalogservers at logon and introduce an Advanced Server Recovery wizard. Whistlerconsumers and desktop folks will get a free remote control capability, a“driver rollback” capability, and an improved taskbar. Great, but why would mymom buy the upgrade? Or why would corporate America buy the upgrade for thedesktop or server when all the really cool features are being promisedfor the next Windows iteration, code-named Blackcomb? Blackcomb promisesmultiple domains being shared on a single domain controller, Active Directoryprune and graft, and domain renaming. I predict that if Whistler is releasedthis year it will effectively become the Windows 98 of the server world: A niceproduct, but ultimately not worth the hard dollars for upgrading or the softdollars for implementing. Consider most implementations will have either justbroken ground for Windows 2000, or just gotten into the swing of things. Idon’t think Whistler will make it out the door and onto shelves this calendaryear. I suspect I’ll rerun this prediction in next year’s column: Whistler willbe released on the second anniversary date of Windows 2000 -- on Feb 14, 2002.

Novell: This prediction is the most painful. Ibelieve this is Novell’s last year in the networking business as we know ittoday. I’m not categorically predicting Novell’s demise, rather, I believethey’ll turn the ship around like Banyan --now ePresence -- did. Novell doesone thing great: It writes great software that just works. But the company alsodoes one thing terribly: It doesn’t let anyone know about it. Novell better getoff its marketing butt and prove to corporate America – again -- that they needits software, because more and more corporate America doesn’t think so. Thisyear, I bid the Novell caterpillar adieu, and hope it will emerge later thisyear as a beautiful butterfly -- or else it will splatter on the Windowswindshield.

What do youthink? Write me at jeremym@boutell.comand let me know where you think the industry is headed this year. --JeremyMoskowitz, MCSE, is an enterprise architect at InfoSystems Inc. (Wilmington,Del.). He is co-author of Teach Yourself Windows 2000 Server in 24 Hours.Contact him at jeremym@boutell.com.