Like skilled mountain climbers preparing for a tough ascent, network managers had better gather their gear for the hike up to Windows 2000.
With all the hardware and software requirements the new operating system will bring, advanced planning can't be overdone. Those who don't give due diligence to preparation may find their network operating system upgrade doubly difficult.
Third-party vendors are already busy trying to prepare users for the trek to Active Directory, the toughest of the Windows 2000 peaks. But other considerations do exist, most notably the need to take a simple inventory of the hardware and software that sits on a network. Windows 2000 will not only tax hardware, especially memory reserves, but also aging software versions.
With that in mind, Tally Systems last week introduced Version 2.95 of its NetCensus asset management tool. Tally is pitching the software as a way to collect important data for planning Windows 2000 migrations.
Tally has added a host of new CPUs that NetCensus can identify and has increased its recognition portfolio to more than 10,000 software titles.
With the Data Center version of Windows 2000 Server requiring specific hardware, network managers can get a sense if they have what it takes to run the platform. Also, Windows 2000 Professional, the desktop version of the operating system, will require machines with a minimum of 64K bytes of RAM.
"I'll run searches for machines with less than 128K of RAM so I can get a list of the machines I need to upgrade," says Kris Kaull, IT administrator at Dynojet Research in Belgrade, Mont. "I'll also use NetCensus to search for the other pieces of the network that won't work with Windows 2000."
Tally has added support for a laundry list of new CPUs that the system can inventory, including Intel Pentium II and III, and Xeon and Celeron processors. The software also recognizes AMD, Cyrix, WinChip and NexGen processors.
Support for Dell systems has been boosted to include reports on system model, serial number and asset tags.
A third new feature offers data collection on Windows Service Pack versions from all machines running Windows 95 and 98.
"Users need to get a handle on software and hardware dependencies for Windows 2000," says Karen Horvath, NetCensus product manager. "We show what PCs need to be replaced and what upgrades must be made."
Tally Systems is not alone in providing this capability to corporate users. Intel's LANDesk and Veritas' Desktop Management Suite also provide inventory features.
NetCensus is available now and is priced between $10 and $15 per node, depending on number of nodes.