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Windows NT could triple enterprise upgrade costs – report

Giga has come up with a spectacular slagging-off of NT's current capabilities. Novell must be pleased...

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Our thanks to our good friends at Novell for drawing a recent Giga Information Group report to our attention. By a massive coincidence, the report gives Windows NT one hell of a kicking. Giga describes Windows 2000 as vapourware, points out that companies therefore have to go with NT 4.0 (which of course is what Microsoft recommends and funds via OEMs as a Windows 2K preparation strategy), and concludes that "a wholesale migration to Windows NT Server 4.0 will cost, on average, two to three times more than upgrading to NetWare 5.0." Giga's data, the outfit stresses, is based on NT's performance "when installed as the enterprise operating system across the entire corporate intranet/extranet." As far as Giga is concerned NT remains a "superior departmental server" - that however is bad news for Microsoft and good news for Novell as well. Microsoft pitches NT as scalable enough to run an entire enterprise network, whereas Novell says you can run NT at a departmental level if you like, but you really need NetWare 5.0 to handle the whole enterprise (and of course its departmental NT servers). Says Giga (which may not be getting any work from Redmond for a while): "Giga has spoken with several large corporate accounts that attempted to fully replace their existing network operating systems (NetWare, Unix, OS/2 Warp Server and even legacy Banyan Vines) with Windows NT 4.0 and were forced to stop in mid-upgrade because they could not achieve the same level of enterprise functionality with the Windows NT Server." This won't change, Giga reckons, until Windows 2K ships with the vital new components of Active Directory, advanced clustering and scalability features and Kerberos security. Today NT "is simply not the functional equivalent of more established operating systems such as NetWare and Unix." Particular higher cost areas for NT cited by Giga include the need for more hardware, greater network admin expenditure and the need to buy additional third party products to achieve the same level of functionality as currently found in NetWare and Unix systems. So you've got to buy twice as many NT servers for the same number of users, while the underlying protocols also affect performance. NT servers fall over more often, and take twice as many administrators. Plus NT ones cost more. Giga also suggests wait and see as being the best strategy for Windows 2000's claimed new features, and recommends you don't upgrade until you're through the Y2K issue, and that you wait some more "until at least the first Windows 2000 Service Pack ships." ®

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