Windows 2000 Migration Made Easy

SAN FRANCISCO (02/22/2000) - Now that you can buy Windows 2000, you may find that the price involves more than the software. New customers of Windows 2000 will pay a total of $14 billion for migration services, according to the Gartner Group Inc. And there are plenty to choose from.

The debut of Windows 2000 this month was accompanied by a bevy of tools and services designed to help everyone from small offices to extra-large enterprises migrate fearlessly to the successor to Windows NT, Microsoft Corp.'s business and server operating system.

Managing Migration

Offering a managed migration program that helps you plan a step-by-step path to Win 2000, Entevo (recently acquired by BindView) now offers its Managed Migrations to Windows suite. The collection of system tools supports migration from Windows NT to 2000, as well as to mixed environments running Novell and Unix. The suite costs about $10 per user per year.

As you plan your deployment, Managed Migrations will generate reports and let you run trials before beginning the actual transition. Once you're ready to deploy Win 2000, the DirectManage kit provides software tools to guide you through the process, says Prashanth Viswanath, Entevo's president and chief technical officer. Viswanath has firsthand experience; he worked at one time on the Active Directory project at Microsoft.

Symantec's Norton Ghost 6.0 Enterprise, priced at $12.30 per person for 100 users, is another utility that eases migration. It helps you move your current preferences and applications from one operating system to another, using cloning.

Another program, ImageCast IC3 Version 4.0, is distributed and supported by Innovative Software, and costs $11 per person in quantities up to 1000, at which point the price drops to $5.75 per user. ImageCast, like Norton Ghost, lets you clone your clients, and the cloning software copies an image of your hard disk's contents. ImageCast IC3 also supports extra partitions, helps assign IP addresses, and allows remote system management.

Miramar Systems updated its Desktop DNA to Version 2.0 with the release of Windows 2000. The software takes the "genetic makeup" of your PC on an application-by-application level. It moves your settings, such as shortcuts, address books, bookmarks, dictionaries, and macros, to one or more PCs over a network. It also generates reports on each PC's migration, assigns new identification codes, and provides system backup and recovery. A five-user pack costs $245.

Microsoft Helps You Decide

Some analysts think you should be very cautious about moving to Windows 2000.

Don't feel the need to rush right away to deploy Windows 2000 or even to do the deployment yourself, says Brian Livingston, co-author of Windows 2000 Secrets.

"A lot of small businesses have Windows 98 set up on a network and if there's no administrator, you can't expect the network to work. You might not even need Windows 2000," Livingston says. "Upgrades serve the software companies."

One lure to the OS is a new function specifically suited to networks: Active Directory. This function centralizes directory information and provides more efficient access on TCP/IP networks. It uses a Domain Name System to translate human-readable computer names and Web addresses to IP addresses.

Still, even deciding whether to migrate a network over to Win 2000 takes a lot of planning and support. Microsoft itself offers several tools to help you determine what you're in for.

On its Web site, the company offers a downloadable hardware readiness analyzer.

Also available is a Windows 2000 Server Deployment and Planning Guide (from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit) and general upgrade advice.

If you're looking directly to Microsoft for tools to migrate and consolidate Windows NT systems to Win 2000, the company has licensed Domain Migrator from Mission Critical Software.

You can also find help if you choose not to handle the migration yourself.

Amdahl, a consulting firm, and FastLane, a software provider, offer Windows 2000 Implementation services. They'll design and plan the upgrade, and then handle the installation for you. Both use FastLane's DM/DM/Consolidator Suite, which shipped in mid-November and is priced at $2000 per server. Amdahl will even obtain and arrange Win 2000 software licenses for an added fee. The company is working on a partnership to provide hardware, software, and network management for a monthly fee.

Hardware manufacturers are also in the act. Dell offers several migration solutions. The computer vendor will build your new systems, then send staff to your site to load them up with Windows 2000. Plus, when you purchase new Win 2000-compliant PCs, Dell will accept your trade-in of non-compliant systems, at up to $400 per PC.

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