Technology Positioning Statement Report

6.1.1 Network Operating Systems

Description: Operating systems for all networked infrastructure and applications.

Category: 6 - Networks   Subcategory: 1 - Enterprise Networks
Old Category: Infrastructure Services - Network OS


  Windows NT Server
Windows 2000 Server


Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Reliability, scalability, interoperability, speed, storage and interface flexibility, ease of administration and maintenance.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Position: Unix (including Linux) is the leader in large corporations (thousands of users per server) and engineering environments. In government agencies, Microsoft NT Server is the current NOS sales leader.

Microsoft has recently introduced three new network/server operating system products: (1) Windows 2000 Server is the entry-level version and is the solution for file, print, intranet, and infrastructure servers. (2) Windows 2000 Advanced Server delivers enhanced reliability, availability, and scalability for running e-commerce and line-of-business applications. (3) Windows 2000 Datacenter Server is the most powerful server operating system ever offered by Microsoft. Datacenter Server is designed for enterprises that demand the highest levels of availability and scale.

On the desktop, "Windows 2000 (W2K) Professional deployments are picking up speed as corporations move quickly to retire Windows 9x. However, the timetable to deploy Windows 2000 Server is an entirely different story. The tale of Windows 2000 Server can best be summed up as a tug-of-war between quality and complexity. Thus far, complexity is winning."

"To date (Mar. 2001), only about 30 percent of organizations have started migrating to Windows 2000 Server in earnest. Windows 2000 Professional upgrades are proceeding at a much more respectable pace — with 45 percent of organizations either having completed or in the midst of a migration, according to the results of the latest joint Giga/Sunbelt Software survey of more than 1,200 IT professionals worldwide."

"The chief culprits in the measured Windows 2000 Server migrations are complexity, a scarcity of skilled IT staff (both within organizations and at systems integrators and outsourcers) and the sheer magnitude of other network upgrade projects desktop and server hardware, software, licensing, security and network infrastructure that must be done in advance of a Windows 2000 migration. These issues are likely to persist for the foreseeable future. The trend of cautious, measured Windows 2000 Server deployments will continue during the next 12 to 18 months."

"A dearth of skilled administrators will persist for the foreseeable future both within corporations and at systems integrators and outsourcers. There are no easy answers here and no shortcuts. Businesses that currently are understaffed, and whose IT managers are already working 60-plus hours a week, are nonetheless going to have to do the impossible: find the time, money and replacements to enable their administrators to get the necessary training. Passing the Windows 2000 MCSE certification tests is not simple. Preliminary findings show that the first-time pass rate for the four core Windows 2000 competency exams is a shockingly low — 15 percent. Anyone who fails must repeat the tests at the corporation’s expense. At approximately $400, this can quickly become expensive."

"Singly, the presence of any one of the aforementioned issues is enough to cause serious delays. The presence of several of them (plaguing a majority of all but the smallest, most centralized organizations) is almost guaranteed to put the brakes on a Windows 2000 Server migration. Add Active Directory to the mix and the delay factor increases substantially."  --Windows 2000: Complexity Delays Deployments, Laura DiDio and Norbert Kriebel, Giga, March 12, 2001.

SC Usage: Windows NT 4.0 is currently deployed on about 20 servers; migration to Windows 2000 Pro on the desktop is scheduled for the Fall of 2001. Microsoft Exchange 5.5 (NT-based) is providing Internet mail services, and IIS (Internet Information Server) 4.0 is functioning as the SC web server platform; migration to Windows 2000 Server will extend into 2002.

In light of the experience and warnings from other organizations, it is advisable to consider temporary contracting of Windows 2000 Server migration planning and implementation services to a contractor that specializes in this work.

SC Application Architecture: All architected applications will require network services from Microsoft Windows NT Server operating systems.

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