Life After Tech Support

By Sean Gallagher  |  Posted 2002-12-01 Print this article Print

Citigroup wasn't ready to stop using Windows NT or 2000. So it and other large companies forced Microsoft to extend support.

Life After Tech Support

There have been other reasons that companies have been reluctant to move, says Burry. "Some have specific apps that run on NT 4 and they're not ready to run on another operating system. Some have project fatigue—they spent a lot of time and energy fixing and migrating and updating for Y2K, and the thought of launching another major program, both financially and from an organizational ability to absorb change, was too much. And there was a certain [attitude that if] it's not broken, don't fix it."

But now with support ending for NT, Burry says, companies have to decide, "Do I want to be running my business on an OS not supported by the vendor?"

For some, the answer may be a qualified "yes." Even with Microsoft cutting off support for the OS, NT 4 is bound to persist for some time. "It's to the point where NT 4 is stable enough that we're not concerned about it falling out of support," said David Siefert, CIO of Atofina Chemicals in Philadelphia. While Atofina will have moved "99% by year's end," Siefert says there's still some software the company runs that hasn't been updated for Windows 2000. "There will always be a few special applications that aren't ready."

But the usefulness of those applications ultimately may be limited by hardware—as the systems they run on require replacement, it may become more difficult to find servers and peripheral hardware that works with Windows NT.

Companies already in the midst of deploying Windows 2000 Server should continue their efforts, Burry advises. But for those who haven't started to make the move yet, the time the revised Windows NT support agreement buys them should be used to focus on moving to .NET Server when it becomes available.

"Even if .NET Server ships as late as April or May, that still gives you plenty of time to do prep work and testing and piloting," says Burry. "So by the time you're ready in the middle of the year to do a full-scale rollout, the product will probably be there."

Sean Gallagher is editor of Ziff Davis Internet's enterprise verticals group. Previously, Gallagher was technology editor for Baseline, before joining Ziff Davis, he was editorial director of Fawcette Technical Publications' enterprise developer publications group, and the Labs managing editor of CMP's InformationWeek. A former naval officer and former systems integrator, Gallagher lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

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