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INFO TECHNOLOGY

Implement new Windows with care

On February 17, 2000, Microsoft introduced a new operating system - Windows 2000 (W2k). The New Windows is aimed at personal computer users as well as corporate servers (W2k Server, Advanced Server and DataCenter Server). Their functionality and user interface resembles that of previous Windows versions, but technologically they are based on Windows NT. So how can this influence IT infrastructure? Let's look at some important new features first:
1) Active Directory is a directory service that allows users to save and manipulate various types of information in a hierarchical database, resulting in much better possibilities for system and application administration.


Peter Krošlák

On February 17, 2000, Microsoft introduced a new operating system - Windows 2000 (W2k). The New Windows is aimed at personal computer users as well as corporate servers (W2k Server, Advanced Server and DataCenter Server). Their functionality and user interface resembles that of previous Windows versions, but technologically they are based on Windows NT. So how can this influence IT infrastructure? Let's look at some important new features first:


1) Active Directory is a directory service that allows users to save and manipulate various types of information in a hierarchical database, resulting in much better possibilities for system and application administration.

2) IntelliMirror allows automatic installing of required applications from server to user PC, and, together with the Installer service, it helps in application administration.

3) The new NTFS v.5 file system introduces such functions as restriction of disk space for certain defined objects, indexing disk contents and encoding files and/or directories.

4) More efficient centralised administration tools.

5) Enhanced services - Terminal Server, Cluster Server, security features.


What do IS managers have to take into account before implementing W2k? First of all, it is necessary to plan, design and test all steps thoroughly. The required minimum capacity for PCs and servers is higher. PCs can run with 64 MB RAM, but to achieve smooth and problem-free operation, you have to start with 128 MB RAM. This has to be taken into account especially on bigger projects. Servers require a minimum of 256 MB RAM. Disk capacity is not that important. The really important factor is the power and number of processors.

Higher capacity and power requirements also create problems for the existing installed PCs and server bases. Before the rollout, it should be decided which servers and PCs should be upgraded or replaced. In the case of servers, one can also consider server and data storage systems consolidation, especially using Terminal Server technology together with clustering for higher availability and reliability.

Existing local network parameters may also have to be improved. If you are going to use Installer/IntelliMirror, Terminal Server and Active Directory technologies, you should consider upgrading at least the backbone of your local network and possibly those of your clients as well. Today, servers can be interconnected by high-speed technologies like Gigabit Ethernet, ATM or multiple Fast Ethernet. The speed of connection for workstations can be improved by using switches with dedicated 10 or 100 Mbps connection.

But overall, using new W2k features and technologies can dramatically change managements' views on investing in new information technologies. In many aspects, W2k represents new technology that brings much wider functionalities and services. That is why its implementation requires thorough preparation and planning. The know-how requirements of IS administrators and managers are also much higher, especially in rolling out and installing W2k on servers. That is why we recommend considering the professional assistance of companies certified to provide W2k services before implementing the new OS.

Peter Krošlák is responsible for Hardware Solutions at PosAm Bratislava. His column appears monthly. Send comments or questions to kroslak@posam.sk.

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