March 01, 2001, 10:18 AM — Last newsletter, I discussed the pitfalls of using Windows 2000 servers with Active Directory in a branch-office scenario and how important it is to be sure that the planning and deployment go smoothly. It reminded me that several people and organizations have held off on deploying Windows 2000 because they feel that Active Directory is a completely new way of looking at things.
That's true; it is. But you can still take advantage of the power and reliability of Windows 2000 without deploying Active Directory.
While we've been telling you for almost a year that you should be moving to Windows 2000 Professional as your desktop system of choice -- and that doing so doesn't require using Active Directory at all -- it's also true that Windows 2000 servers can be deployed without Active Directory.
Of course, Microsoft wants you to move to Active Directory -- and so do I, if you aren't going to use a competing directory service. But don't let the necessity for lots of planning and testing for Active Directory hold back projects, such as Web servers using Window 2000 servers, which don't require the directory to be deployed.
Microsoft has even released a deployment guide for using Windows 2000 before fully implementing Active Directory. The company calls it an "incremental upgrade," so you can take advantage of the new server operating system's strong new features while preparing for the next stage (directory services) on your network. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/library/planning/incremental/upgrade.asp and check it out.