Most feds envision migration to Win 2000

Most feds envision migration to Win 2000


The GCN Reader Survey is intended to provide data on trends and product preferences. This survey on network OSes is based on a telephone survey of 100 federal readers who on their subscription forms identified themselves as IT managers.

Here's an easy-as-pie forecast: Microsoft Windows network operating systems will continue to expand their presence in federal IT shops.

And how. In a recent GCN telephone survey, 80 percent of the federal systems or IT managers contacted said that they expect their networks to be running either Windows NT Server or Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server within the next 24 months.

Most current users of NT Server versions'56 percent of managers in the sample'expected to migrate to Windows 2000 in the next two years.

Overall, 63 percent of managers projected their systems to be running Win 2000 in 24 months, regardless of what OS their networks now run.

At the Naval Inventory and Control Point in Mechanicsburg, Pa., where a 700-node LAN runs NetWare 5.0 from Novell Inc., IT officials will be gearing up to migrate to Win 2000 Server in the next year as the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet is rolled out.

Network success

'NetWare has been OK,' said Victor McBride, a supervisory systems analyst at NAVCIP and a Novell OS fan. 'I grew up on NetWare 3.1 and that worked really well for its time. We've got some network problems here but I doubt they're NetWare instigated.'

By contrast, an Army information management officer in Mission Viejo, Calif., wasn't very cheery about NetWare. He said the biggest improvement for his network will be 'to do away with Novell.'

The officer said his unit is planning to install Win 2000 Server within two years.

McBride said he's slightly nervous about migrating to Win 2000 Server, 'mainly because new things have that tendency to go 'oops, gotcha and by-the-way-we-don't-support-that-until-version-whatever.' Microsoft is famous for that.

'It's a reasonably high-risk venture for us,' he added. 'However, the NMCI contract says that [Electronic Data Systems Corp.] shall provide, so they're going to have to do whatever it takes to make it run.'

NetWare captured 20 percent of the OS base in the survey sample, a figure that managers in the survey expected to slip to 10 percent in two years.

At a Food and Drug Administration office in Alameda, Calif., a 120-node LAN will move from NT Server 4.0 to Win 2000 Server within the next 24 months as part of an agencywide upgrade, said LAN manager Elgin Williams.

Williams said he has no major complaints about NT, which has been the network OS for about three years.

'It's been reliable,' he said. 'The performance has been OK.'

Williams doesn't expect the transition to Win 2000 Server to be as troublesome as when the office LAN went from the old Vines OS from Banyan Worldwide to NT Server.

'I'm thinking that [the migration] will be a lot easier than when we went from Banyan to NT,' he said. 'That was difficult from a software standpoint.'

The survey sample found use of NT Server declining to 17 percent in two years, as more organizations migrate to Win 2000 Server.

One current user of Win 2000 Server carped about having to download too many fixes.

'It's still too new and there are big holes that Microsoft left in,' said a computer specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City.

When asked what improvements they would like to see in general in network OSes, most managers longed for more built-in security features.

Many also wanted vendors to produce more reliable network OSes with fewer bugs out of the box.

'Operating systems need to be more stable with fewer patches,' said an Army systems manager in Yuma, Ariz.

'Operating systems crash too much,' groused a computer systems analyst for the General Services Administration in Philadelphia.

Eight percent of managers surveyed had Unix running as the primary OS on their systems. But only 5 percent expected to be using Unix in two years.


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