Windows NT Server 4.0 users are keen to migrate to Windows Server 2003, but the biggest stumbling block lies within Microsoft, a company executive has admitted.
"One of the main problems facing NT customers in Australia is that SQL Server 7 doesn't work on Server 2003," said Michael Leworthy, Microsoft Australia Windows Server product manager.
SQL Server 7 is Microsoft's four-year-old enterprise relational database management and analysis system. Yukon, the code name for the next version, is currently in development.
Microsoft's support for NT doesn't expire until the end of 2004 although telephone support for NT 4.0 workstation ceased in June.
Leworthy said customers were complaining of spending too much time managing their NT systems.
"NT users are struggling with security, administration and support issues with their customers," he said in an interview with ZDNet Australia.
IT budgets will always be a problem for IT managers justifying new technology acquisitions. "We have static budgets so how can we deploy Windows 2003 and get immediate return on investment?" is a common question Leworthy receives from NT customers.
Another portion of users can't make the upgrade due to application compatibility issues.
Microsoft realises that when it comes to porting enterprise applications that have been running on NT, challenges arise.
"We're committed to helping these customers and I've been working with a select group of partners to solve all these issues," Leworthy said.
He cited an example of a bank which invested AU$15m (£9.4m) on Intuit software running on NT. Microsoft has been conducting portability tests for the customer, taking the application and running it on Microsoft Virtual Server.
Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to put NT users on the upgrade path. Apart from a new Upgrade to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Web site, it will be spending "millions" on marketing initiatives starting in October, Leworthy said.