Perhaps the delay of Windows 2000 is not such a bad thing, after all.

Delay Away

Perhaps the delay of Windows 2000 is not such a bad thing, after all.

No one outside Microsoft really knows when Windows 2000 will ship. Microsoft has never committed to a date, and continues to insist it will ship in 1999. But in the past few weeks, it’s looked more and more like the new release may slip into the year 2000.

The disappointment voiced by analysts about rumored additional delays started me thinking—is it really bad news for all of us? Somehow, I imagine that most of you are dealing with more pressing problems this year than when to upgrade to Windows 2000. Are you really waiting impatiently to start redesigning your networks and collapsing domains to accommodate a major upgrade?

On the surface, another delay in such a major product is problematic. For one thing, it gives your customers an excuse to impatiently look elsewhere for what they think is missing in NT (at NetWare 5.0 and its heralded NDS, for example, or at Unix). It’s also unfortunate news for all those in a holding pattern waiting for the new launch: product vendors with add-ons for Windows 2000, training centers ready to offer a spate of new courses, book publishers, and, of course, the certification group at Microsoft. It’s possible it may hold up other BackOffice products, like the next rev of Exchange. And yet another delay may be bad news for those of you with disorganized, unsecured spaghetti domains looking for an excuse to start over.

But what about the rest of you? You’re the IT professionals who install, configure, monitor, and administer NT networks on a daily basis. Is a 12-month delay really such a bad thing?

Plenty of you have written us to suggest that Microsoft could make your job easier by slowing down the release cycle. Even if you don’t upgrade every time, deciding whether or not to keep pace with Microsoft’s rapid upgrade schedule for every product you support is guaranteed headache material. Delaying the ship date until 2000 gives you time this year to focus on more pressing issues, such as Year 2000 testing, Internet and intranet challenges, security issues, installing and stabilizing on Service Pack 4.0, and much more. (If you have upgrade fever, there’s always Office 2000, set to ship this month.) A delay also gives your organization a chance to stabilize what you’re already running, knowing that this will be your OS of choice for at least another 12 to 18 months.

If you’re hot to get your hands on new features promised in Windows 2000, including support for USB (Universal Serial Bus) and XML (Extensible Markup Language), perhaps the delay simply means more testing, better quality control, and fewer bugs in the end.

Finally, more delays give you a chance to gradually prepare for the upgrade by taking a course, reading a book, maybe planning your new domain structure. (For starters, see this month’s article on “10 Steps to Prepare for Windows 2000.”)

Do more delays in Windows 2000 have you worrying about current customers, shrugging your shoulders, or reaching for the Advil? Send me email at [email protected].

About the Author

Linda Briggs is the founding editor of MCP Magazine and the former senior editorial director of 101communications. In between world travels, she's a freelance technology writer based in San Diego, Calif.

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