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Chapter 2: Migrating to Windows 2000 You most likely are wondering whether you and/or your organization should migrate to Windows 2000. There are, of course, many answers to that question depending on various factors. The purpose of this chapter is to look at those factors and discuss how to evaluate them so that you can make the right decision. Part II of this book will then describe how to do the actual migration. The following factors are reviewed here:
- Organization size
- Hardware and software
- Networking environment
- Security demands
- Support for the Internet
Each of the following sections will discuss one of these factors and look at how you should evaluate it with regard to your situation.
Organization Size As a general statement, the bigger the organization, the more obvious the decision is to migrate to Windows 2000. And, conversely, if you have a home office or a small office, it is less likely that you should migrate. Of course, these generalizations have many exceptions. The pros and cons of each statement are discussed next.
Larger Organizations May Favor Migration
Many features in Windows 2000 are aimed at larger organizations and therefore will encourage them to migrate. Among these features are the following:
The scalability of Windows 2000 Server enables it to go from 1 computer with 1 processor to a cluster of 32 computers each with 32 processors, which can be a major plus for a large organization.
The ability of Windows 2000 to handle large data storage volumes better than Windows NT handles them can prove more valuable to larger organizations. The Windows 2000 facilities forlarge data storage include Dynamic Volume Management, Remote Storage Service, Removable Storage, and Quota Management. See Chapter 12 for a discussion of these facilities.
Windows 2000's Active Directory is more useful for a large organization because it can provide a central reference to shares and other services, such as printers, on a number of servers and clients. Chapter 9 explores Active Directory.
The Windows 2000 management features, such as the Computer Management windows shown in Figure 2-1, are more valuable to larger organizations because they make handling a large number of users, large storage volumes, and multiple servers easier. Also, the addition of organizational units (OUs) to the domain's hierarchical structure allows the system administration to be more broadly distributed, which would benefit a large organization. Windows 2000 management features are discussed in Chapter 14, while domains are covered in Chapter 9.
Windows 2000's significant security enhancements, including Kerberos authentication, full implementation of a public key infrastructure (PKI), and file encryption, may be of more interest to larger organizations, which tend to be more security conscience. "Security Demands," later in this chapter, provides an overview of these features, and Chapter 15 discusses security in depth.
After considering the preceding features that favor migration, you must also consider the following roadblocks that may discourage a large organization's implementation of Windows 2000:
The size of the migration task in a large organization requires lengthy planning, considerable staff training, and a lengthy transition period, all of which equates to a significant expenditure. This, at a minimum, means that a large organization must go slow in its migration. Part 11 of this book describes the deployment process.
A heterogeneous environment of mainframe, UNIX, and other non-Windows systems will reduce the benefits available from Windows 2000, especially Active Directory. This could mean that the return on investment (ROI) of a migration is not acceptable. The considerations needed in a heterogeneous environment are discussed primarily in Part III.
Organizations heavily using Novell NetWare and Novell Directory Services (NDS) may not see enough advantage in Windows 2000 and Active Directory to warrant the migration. NDS is more mature and can handle a more heterogeneous environment. Using Novell NetWare with Windows 2000 is discussed in Chapter 8.
Smaller Organizations May Not Favor Migration
The size and complexity of Windows 2000 along with the effort required to set it up and maintain it are major stumbling blocks for smaller organizations (although this book will go a long way toward alleviating that problem). Also, scalability, the ability to handle large amounts of data, Active Directory, and improved security may or may not be very important to smaller companies. There are, though, two areas where Windows 2000 provides some major benefits for smaller organizations:
If your organization is using laptop or notebook computers, you will probably want to run Windows 2000 Professional on those computers. Windows 2000 provides significantly enhanced power management with a true hibernate mode that allows you to simply close the cover, have the entire state of the computer saved to disk, and reduce power to almost nil. Then, when you open the cover, you can quickly be back to where you were without rebooting. Additionally, Windows 2000 has significantly improved the ability to use network files offline and then automatically synchronize them with the online version when you reconnect. Mobile computing with Windows 2000 is described in Chapter 18.
If you share or want to share an Internet connection line, such as a digital subscriber line (DSL) or other high-speed line, Windows 2000 provides several features to facilitate this. Windows 2000 includes a built-in router that enables you to install a line termination (a modem, or an ISDN or DSL adapter) in a server and allow anyone on the network to access the Internet over that line.
Also, in Windows 2000, a modem can be set up to automatically dial an Internet service provider (ISP) whenever the modem is accessed. Finally, Internet Connection Sharing using network address translation (NAT) allows multiple people to share an Internet connection by mapping multiple LAN addresses to one IP address, which is what the ISP sees. Chapter 10 discusses communications and the Internet.
Hardware and Software Windows 2000 is much more hardware-friendly than Windows NT 4, and is even a little better than Windows 98. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about software. The following discussion looks at each of these statements in more detail.
Windows 2000 Hardware Friendliness
Windows NT 4 was a constant headache when it came to dealing with hardware components. Windows 2000 has added a number of features aimed at relieving that headache. Among these are the following:
Full implementation of Plug and Play, which allows for virtually pain-free installation of Plug and Play-compliant hardware. (Older, non-Plug and Play hardware can still be a problem, but the following points mitigate that a bit.)
An extensive set of hardware drivers that are stored in compressed form on the computer, so you don't need the Windows 2000 CD-ROM to install a new device.
Online access to the latest drivers at the Microsoft site, and a program to check whether you need them. This is accessed by choosing Windows Update from the Start menu.
Online access to what hardware is and isn't compatible with Windows 2000, at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/upgrade/compat/default.asp. From this site, you also can download the Readiness Analyzer, which will list the compatibility issues on a particular computer.
Built-in support for recent hardware developments, including universal serial bus (USB) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1394 (FireWire) ports. USB ports can be used with keyboards, mice, and many other devices, whereas FireWire is a high-speed port used by video cameras and other video devices.
Efficient use of memory, but demands for a fair amount of it. Although you can run Windows 2000 Professional on 32MB, running it on 64MB provides a comfortable system, and 128MB makes a significant difference. Windows 2000 Server will run on 64MB, but 128MB is really the minimum practical system, and with any significant load, you will need 256MB. In all cases, the operating system makes good use of added memory.
Excellent power management, including a hibernate mode, discussed earlier under "Smaller Organizations May Not Favor Migration."
Ability to use the FAT 32 file system, which was not available in Windows NT 4, although Windows 2000 loses a lot of capability if NTFS (NT file system) is not used. Chapter 12 discusses FAT 32 and NTFS file systems.
Windows 2000 Software Considerations
Windows 2000 provides a 32-bit software environment with a lot of protection for the operating system from programs that "misbehave." This means that the first priority is to protect the operating system and keep it running, so a number of applications that step outside the proscribed "box" will not operate. These tend to be hardware-related programs, such as faxing, scanning, CD writing, and gaming software. Initially, at least, a number of these types of programs, especially from the Windows 98 environment, do not work under Windows 2000. Hopefully, there will be new versions of these programs, or at least new drivers that do work. Older 16-bit programs, especially DOS-based games, will not run on Windows 2000 unless they are rewritten.
At the same Microsoft web site referenced in the preceding bulleted list, you can check the compatibility of software. Also, the Readiness Analyzer at this site will check the compatibility of software on a computer, as well as the hardware. The compatibility results, an example of which is shown in Figure 2-2, will tell you at which of the following levels the software is classified:
Certified A third party has tested and certified that the software is compatible with Windows 2000. Ready The software publisher has tested it with Windows 2000 and is willing to support it. Planned The current version of the software is not compatible, but a future version may be compatible...