Companies should not implement early versions of Microsoft Windows 2000 until their IT engineers have been fully trained and their company is a Microsoft Premium Support organisation, according to a senior analyst.
Laura DiDio, senior analyst at Giga Information Group, warned that it has taken six years for Microsoft, which employs some of the world's best programmers, to debug between 30 million and 35 million lines of code for Windows 2000.
'How long do you think it will take you?' she asked. 'The level of complexity cannot be overstated. Get your people fully trained. A solid, reliable version of Windows 2000 can do a lot for your company, but if your staff aren't skilled, it's going to do a lot to you.'
According to DiDio, most components of Microsoft's long-awaited next release of Windows NT will ship later in the year. But in a straw poll of the audience - many of whom were IT managers - the majority said they would hold off implementation for between six months and a year after the launch.
DiDio also advised potential users to protect against ambitious hackers who enjoy their 15 minutes of fame by infiltrating Microsoft networks and abusing the vendor's notification of security alerts.
Windows 2000 will also be the debut platform for the Microsoft Active Directory service. DiDio reminded the audience that this would be the first version and they should not expect the functionality of the Novell Directory Service, which has taken several releases to mature. She estimated it would take between 12 and 14 months to stabilise Active Directory.
Despite the warnings, DiDio applauded Microsoft's willingness to spend $40 million training its in-house staff and partners on the platform, and establish quality assurance initiatives.
In addition, 75 of the bigger bugs in Windows 2000 have been eliminated, although others remain. 'Just don't muck around in the register,' she concluded.
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