Microsoft: Windows 2000 popular in New Zealand

One year after its release, Windows 2000 is reaching mass-adoption status in New Zealand, Microsoft Corp. claims.

Although the company wouldn't give figures, Microsoft national sales manager Chris Thodey said uptake of the operating system has been "better than expected" and evenly spread across large, medium-size and small organizations.

Large sites that have deployed Windows 2000 include Waitemata District Health Board and the law firm Phillips Fox. Telecom New Zealand has selected Windows 2000 Professional, as well as Exchange Server 2000 and Office 2000 Professional, for all its desktop computers under a three-year license worth $12.5 million in New Zealand (that's about $5 million in U.S. dollars). Auckland University is also planning to migrate to Windows 2000 over the coming years.

Thodey said government departments and large corporate accounts have received Windows 2000 software under their enterprise licensing agreements, although they may not have installed it yet.

To ease the installation process, Microsoft New Zealand is supporting a new suite of management tools and methodologies from systems integrator Axon Group PLC. Called advanced management environment (AME), it aims to help organizations install and manage Windows 2000 and Windows NT environments.

Thodey said Microsoft's technical people have looked at AME to ensure that it complies with best practice and leverages the Microsoft utilities available. He added that those people are "very comfortable" with the product.

However, he emphasized that in terms of planning for Windows 2000 deployment and the skills and methodologies needed, the approach hasn't changed from what it was for any implementation of Windows. "People need to do a solid professional job, and they need to do testing."

Windows marketing manager Jay Templeton doesn't think Windows 2000 installation is any more difficult than Windows NT. As a consultant, he has taken part in 10 large Windows 2000 deployments.

"It wasn't hard once we'd done the planning," Templeton says. "The amount of effort in terms of training material and preparation was the same [as for NT]. Admittedly, if I'd grabbed it off the shelf, I would probably have had trouble, but with appropriate training, preplanning and technical tools, it wasn't hard to install.

"The technology isn't an issue -- it's the processes and people, and that's where something like AME can be useful."

Windows XP, which combines Windows ME and Windows 2000, is slated to ship in July. Should organizations be holding off their Windows 2000 rollout until XP is available? Templeton's answer is an emphatic no.

"Don't wait, because everything you can do on Windows 2000 today you'll be able to do on Windows XP in future," he said. "I don't think corporate people are waiting for XP. It is targeted at the consumer who wants the benefits of Windows 2000 in the home environment. There's a very small differential between Windows 2000 and Windows XP."

This story, "Microsoft: Windows 2000 popular in New Zealand" was originally published by Computerworld.

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