Gartner warns users to avoid NT 5.0 until mid-2000

Leading industry analyst, The Gartner Group, has warned corporations not to install NT 5.0 for up to a year after its expected release in Q2, 1999.

In a report entitled, Windows NT v 5.0 Vs Year 2000: Stop Where You Are, senior Gartner analyst, Ed Thompson, warns companies to use common sense and delay installing NT 5.0 until all millennium issues are resolved and "inevitable" NT bugs are fixed. The report focuses on the importance of a "stable operational environment," something Thompson believes is unachievable if companies attempt to upgrade to the new NOS at such a difficult time. "IT Staff will have enough to deal with solving millennium issues without having to worry about a new operating system that is certain to have teething problems," he says.

Thompson believes large companies run the greatest risk because their IT departments fit into the "Class A", or "do it now" category. "For the smaller, 'let's hold back and wait until all the NT and millennium issues have been resolved' companies, the risks are obviously less. But for the large corporation that may be running say, SAP, there could be significant problems implementing the new OS," he says.

The warning carries "some truth", according to Camilla Ballesteros, director of interactive marketing at London advertisement agency, CDP, who believes prudent IT managers will be more wary of NT bugs, than millennium problems. "Microsoft has proven in the past that its new release software is buggy," she says, "the millennium is a problem of course, but if I had to install NT, whatever version, I'd wait until a bug-free release became available before attempting to run my company on it."

Microsoft remains confident that NT 5.0 will ship with very few bugs and advises companies to resolve any millennium issues before installing NT 5.0. Phil Cross, group marketing manager for Microsoft's business systems group says: "Companies should fix what they've got. Identify your problems first and then work out what the best route is." But that route may prove difficult according to Thompson, who says Microsoft has only itself to blame. "Of course the millennium wouldn't have been an issue had Microsoft stuck to its original plan and got the software out on time. In other words the Summer of 1998. That would have given IT departments a full year to implement the software and work out an problems."