The Gartner Group, which came up with the whole unsettling notion of total
cost of ownership (TCO) in the first place, has been off doing calculations
again and poked its head out of the door long enough on Thursday to announce
to the world that Windows 2000, once it gets here, may induce wrenching
"sticker shock" in the enterprise set.
According to Gartner's model, migrating from NT 4 to Windows 2000
Professional could cost anywhere from $1,250- $2,050 per desktop and moving
from the simpler Windows 9x could cost a ghastly $2,015-$3,100 per desktop.
It says flatly that the numbers "will make it difficult for enterprises to
achieve any return on their investments - based on total cost of ownership -
within three years." And of course God only knows what paradigm shift
everyone will be off chasing three years from now so Gartner's findings may
give some people pause. When they see the bill, they may decide that a lot
of their desktops should just stand pat.
The Sun crowd and the others in the anti-Microsoft collective will be dining
out for weeks on this news - especially in light of Sun's latest
Wintel-ripping NC initiative although Gartner doesn't think that's
particularly viable either.
Gartner quotes its research director, VP Michael Gartenberg, as saying,
"enterprises must understand that TCO reduction is not a justification for a
Windows 2000 desktop migration. Because of the high cost of migration,
enterprises can actually lose money before they touch the first system."
Gartner says its cipherings are based on a typical 2,500-user
network-connected enterprise and notes that its model only represents
desktop migration costs, not the cost of the back-end server or the Active
Directory implementation that are required to exploit W2K Professional at
Moreover, since Active Directory as well as some of the Windows 2000
security, storage management and server management pieces are weak,
corporations are going to have to shell out for third-party tools to shore
W2K up and these expenses aren't reflected in the base migration costs
either, it says.
Gartner allows that "TCO is not the only factor to consider in migration
selection" but recommends that companies weigh "the benefits of the Windows
2000 environment with that of other platforms or operating systems" before
making their move. In reaction to digesting the numbers, Gartner expects
corporates to get "more tactical," it said, and encourage multi-OS
According to Kevin Knox, one of the three Gartner guys who put the
client-side numbers together, they include: project planning, training, tier
two and three support, the capital expense of the hardware and software,
application testing and possible rewriting, prototyping and installation.
Naturally the normal back-breaking TCO connected with the desktop comes on
top of the migration expense. Knox was amused to see Microsoft in some of
early press coverage of his findings reject the numbers out-of-hand but
indicate it had given no consideration to what migration costs might be.