The Dating Game

Will you accept or decline the latest offer?

The courting has begun. And you’re the target. Of course, some targets are larger than others. Steve Ballmer’s keynote speech at the launch event for Windows Server 2003 didn’t mention Windows 2000 Server once, yet NT 4.0 came up four times by my count. This product release is definitely a plea to all those customers who haven’t moved up yet—and, according to some analysts, that’s about half of you. Don’t feel left out if you’ve migrated to Win2K. Microsoft always prefers going after the customer that isn’t a sure thing.

It’s persuaded many a company to do its migration to the new platform from NT 4.0. At the launch, I attended two talks by organizations that were just beginning their move to Win2K when Microsoft came calling with its rapid adoption program.

One, the Guardia di Finanza, a combination IRS-police force of 66,000 spread across all of Italy, faced a SAM database reaching its limits, an unstable network infrastructure, spiraling maintenance costs, and inadequate security. The Guardia is seeing a huge reduction in administrative costs and drastic improvements in security and performance. Amazingly, many of its servers are years-old ProLiants that will get upgraded to 128MB of RAM.

The second customer, the Kentucky Department of Education, has 700,000 users in 176 school districts. The central team of “seven or eight” IT administrators expects its migration—including Exchange Server 2003—to be done by December. Consolidation is the watchword for the efforts: 2,100 domain controllers have compressed down to eight Dell 2600s. It also expects to eliminate 90 percent of its 320 Exchange servers.

So, given that the new platform’s out and that ordinary IT people—who happen to be in pretty visible organizations—really are using it, it’s time to educate yourself more thoroughly on your suitor’s prospects. Here’s what I suggest.

I’m just finishing up a quick read that I recommend to every single one of you. Contributing Editor Don Jones’ Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Delta Guide from SAMS weighs in at only 294 pages, costs $29.99 and has type big enough to read while you’re doing your miles on the treadmill. It’ll give you a broad expert tour through what’s different in Windows 2003 from Win2K. If you come from an NT background, don’t worry. There’s enough detail that you’ll gain a quick understanding of the main concepts.

Once you’ve started working with Windows 2003, you’ll need more specifics, of course. For that, I recommend “Windows Insider” Bill Boswell’s latest volume, Inside Windows Server 2003, from Addison-Wesley. This one has nearly 1,400 pages and sets itself apart by the detailed analysis of the features and the numerous process descriptions. As Bill told me, “You really learn how it works, how it breaks, and how to fix it.”

Tell me where you’re turning for advice. I’m at dian.schaffhauser@

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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