April 04, 2001, 9:29 AM — Now that Windows 2000 appears to be gaining momentum among the Windows NT faithful, Microsoft Corp.'s nascent operating system is getting a hard look from another constituency: NetWare users. Whether it's out of a desire to consolidate network operating systems, uncertainty about Novell Inc.'s long-term viability or the desire to run applications such as Exchange 2000 that require Active Directory, at least some longtime NetWare users are mulling a move to Windows 2000.
The number of users migrating from NetWare to Windows 2000 "is not going to be massive, but I think it is going to be steady, and we are starting to see the first trickle," says Laura DiDio, an analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Giga Information Group Inc.
The issues involved in migrating from NetWare to Windows 2000 are very different from those encountered when upgrading from Windows NT.
NetWare administrators face a much more laborious task in moving users over to the new infrastructure. But if their staffs are well-versed in Novell Directory Services (NDS), that may actually give these companies a head start over NT users in implementing Windows 2000's Active Directory -- which is a major undertaking in itself.
"Migrating [from NetWare] to Windows 2000 is something that should not be done quickly," says Scott Poole, Windows 2000 technical product leader at IBM Global Services in Austin, Texas.
"What we are seeing is large enterprises are most assuredly laying down the cornerstones for the migration." he says. "My belief is this time next year, the large-scale rollouts will start happening because people will be ready."