Customers impatient to get their hands on Microsoft’s long- awaited Windows NT 5.0 don’t stand a chance of obtaining the software until the year 2000, analysts claim. Neil MacDonald, research director with Connecticut-based Gartner Group, said Microsoft’s revision earlier this month of its timetable for NT 5.0 betas will delay the launch of its server […]
Customers impatient to get their hands on Microsoft’s long- awaited Windows NT 5.0 don’t stand a chance of obtaining the software until the year 2000, analysts claim. Neil MacDonald, research director with Connecticut-based Gartner Group, said Microsoft’s revision earlier this month of its timetable for NT 5.0 betas will delay the launch of its server operating system until the year 2000, as predicted earlier by Computergram (CI No 3,443). Having been released, it will then take users a further six to nine months to deploy the software, delaying the process until mid 2001. Worse still, he added that large corporate roll- outs, with full deployment of additional NT 5.0 features such as Active Directory, won’t be finished until at least the end of 2001. MacDonald attributed the delays to Microsoft delaying the launch of the second beta version of NT 5.0. Originally, the software was due to be released in the first half of 1998, but Mike Nash, director of marketing for NT Server told Computergram earlier this month the date had been pushed back until some time during the late summer. He said the reason for the delay was that the beta 2 did not yet contain all the necessary functionality of NT 5.0, as was intended. To overcome this problem, Nash explained that Microsoft intended to release a third beta; one that would include all the features and fully- functioning code of NT 5.0. In other words, beta 3.0 is really what beta 2.0 should have been, MacDonald said, And that’s not expected until the second quarter of next year. He added that it was quite absurd to have a beta testing program strung out over the course of two to three years. The fact that the first version came out in the fall of 1997 and the second beta isn’t due till later this year was unheard of, he said. He blamed the delays on the fact that the NT code had become so large and bloated. Beta one contained 27 million lines of code but the final product will have around 35 million, double that used in NT 4.0. He also said that Microsoft was suffering from development growing pains. NT 5.0 isn’t the largest operating system in the world, but it’s certainly the most ambitious thing Microsoft’s ever tried to do, he said, They’ve never had to deal with a problem of this magnitude before and I think they just underestimated the complexity. He said the company hadn’t scaled its development process well enough to cope and the developers, while competent and numerous enough, were experiencing a big leap from the old DOS days: I’m not saying it’s impossible, AS400 is bigger than NT 5.0 so it can be done, I just think it will take the developers a long time to work on the subsystems, test them and integrate them. MacDonald advised users not to sit around, doing nothing waiting for NT. In the interim, he said there were plenty of other alternative operating systems, for example Unix, Netware and AS400 to consider. He added that customers shouldn’t rush to upgrade from NT 3.5.1, saying it was a perfectly viable system. For those stuck on the idea of NT 5.0, he advised against testing any versions of the software until beta 3.0 is launched next year.