Products, Applications and Tips for Government Users

By Richard W. Walker

Should you upgrade from NT 4.0 or start over with Win 2000?

Is it best to start fresh with Microsoft Windows 2000 Server or upgrade from Windows NT 4.0? That's the question GCN put to Microsoft Corp. principal technical specialist Lance Horne and lead product manager Peter Houston in an interview about Win 2000 Server.

Horne: It comes down to an organizational choice and is driven by organizational policy.

There are two main scenarios. One is a situation where a customer has architected an NT 4.0 domain topology that is pretty much to their liking. That sort of customer will choose to upgrade in place, meaning not dramatically altering the domain topology that exists, but gaining some of the tremendous benefits that come with Windows 2000 as a whole, including Active Directory.

Nearly half of current federal users of NT Server expect to migrate to Win 2000 Server within two years, according to findings from a recent GCN survey of LAN administrators and systems managers.

The other scenario is one of restructure, where the organization has run into a delegation wall: They simply have more user and machine objects than they can comfortably support in a single domain environment. In those instances, you'll find customers who want to create an ideal, new Windows 2000 environment and fully leverage all the benefits that come with the distributed technology in Windows 2000, such as Active Directory, group policies, distributed security and so on.

There are a number of tools that we're going to be making available for movement of users and machines and accounts from an NT 3.51 or NT 4.0 environment to a Windows 2000 environment.

Houston: The most significant thing we've done is license a set of tools from Mission Critical Software [of Houston], which has a technology called Domain Administrator. We ship Domain Administrator with Windows 2000, with some additional enhancements. We worked with them on the Redmond [Wash.] campus to enhance that technology. Domain Administrator had good support for most scenarios; we wanted to have great support for all scenarios.

There are three scenarios that are most important for [migrating] from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 Server. In the first scenario, you can create an empty Windows 2000 domain on a new machine and simply move all the users and machine objects from your NT 4.0 domains into that domain. [Domain Administrator] supports that.

Study says cost of migrating to Windows 2000 can be worth it

The potential for increased reliability, performance and stability from Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server outweighs the costs of migrating to those systems, a study by the Giga Information Group of Cambridge, Mass., has found.

Installing or upgrading to Windows 2000 Professional will cost about $970 to $1,640 per desktop system, Giga researchers estimated, while installing or upgrading to Windows 2000 Server will cost $107 per client for a typical network of 5,000 users.

Bottom line: The total expected cost of migrating to Windows 2000 Professional and Server would be about $1,077 to $1,747 per user.

Giga's analysis included what it called the total economic impact, which includes both dollar costs of purchasing and installing the systems plus training. Giga also took into account the cost impact that the new technology has on operations, including management and productivity gains.

Among the benefits from migrating to Win 2000, researchers said, are a stable platform, a common cross-enterprise desktop interface, the possibility of consolidating servers, and better support of electronic commerce applications, Web hosting and extranets.

'Migrating to Windows 2000 will cost an organization money, but simply looking at hard dollar amounts doesn't factor in how important technology is to an organization's day-to-day operations,' said Rob Enderle, a Giga vice president who specializes in desktop computing.

Do the math
Cost of installing or upgrading to Windows 2000 Professional, per desktop
Cost of installing or upgrading to Windows 2000 Server, per desktop for a 5,000-user network
Total cost of installing Win 2000 Server and Professional, per desktop for a 5,000-user system
Source: Giga Information Group

MessageWise ships new version of management tool for Exchange Server

MessageWise Inc. of Ottawa, a developer of network management tools for Microsoft Exchange Server messaging infrastructures, has released a new version of InLook for Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000 and Windows NT and Windows 2000 Server.

InLook makes it possible to gather detailed, server-by-server configuration data on a scheduled or as-needed basis, MessageWise officials said.

InLook gives Exchange administrators a clearer picture of how their networks are configured and sends notifications when changes are made, said Branch Hendrix, group product manager for Exchange Server at Microsoft. Prices start at $995.

Contact MessageWise at

Telco tracks usage and cost on Win 2000 nets

Telco Research of Nashville, Tenn., has bundled a version of Tru Access Manager, a network trend-tracking tool, with its Windows 2000 Resource Kit.

Tru Access Manager collects data and produces reports that show network cost and usage trends. The software is designed to help network administrators develop and enforce network use and security policies, and allocate costs to departments or individual users.

It also provides data for departmental bill-back and end-user accountability, monitoring of service-level agreements, capacity and growth planning, and detecting equipment problems. The resource kit has a broad set of information, tools and converters to help network administrators deploy, support and maintain Win 2000 Server. Prices start at $1,495.

Contact Telco at

Tool allows backup of open files, applications

St. Bernard Software of San Diego has released Version 6.2 of its Open File Manager for Windows 2000 Server.

Open File Manager lets backup programs capture open files, including e-mail, database and accounting files, without locking users out of the applications or requiring them to log off.

It is compatible with major backup packages and relational applications, so users can continue to use their current backup software, hardware and operating system, company officials said. The product is priced at $649.

Contact St. Bernard Software at

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