Giga: Upgrade to Win 2K costly but worth it

Companies planning to upgrade to Windows 2000 will have to pay at least $US973 per client to migrate to Windows 2000 Professional, according to analysts at Giga Information Group.

Additionally, Giga says it will cost another $107 per client to adopt Windows 2000 server but users would see a return on that hefty investment in as soon as a year.

In a report that measures the "total economic impact'' of an upgrade, which includes factors such as productivity and training, analysts Laura DiDio and Rob Enderle concluded, "The cost of implementing Windows 2000, while far from inexpensive, has a payback period of well under a year for many, if not most, organisations.''Windows 2000 will require companies to upgrade client and server hardware, buy new third-party applications for systems management and retrain system administrators. But the benefits, such as more stable desktops and more powerful network management, will help Windows 2000 pay for itself, Giga concluded.

The report estimates much lower desktop upgrade costs than a report by Gartner Group last month. Based largely on the cost of upgrading hardware and incompatible applications, Gartner said upgrade costs could range between $1250 and $2050 for current users of NT Workstation 4.0, or between $2015 to $3100 per desktop for current users of Windows 9x.

Giga's analysis of desktop migration costs assumed that companies would be upgrading some machines regardless of Windows 2000 and accounted for depreciation in calculating the true cost of replacing machines. Giga also didn't predict the substantial application incompatibility that Gartner anticipated.

The cost of application testing, Giga said, would be marginal when amortised across thousands of desktops.

But, DiDio added, "We had a very conservative approach to this.'' She also warned companies not to cut corners in spending on hardware upgrades and training. Companies that can't commit all the required resources to the massive upgrade to Windows 2000 won't see the benefits of Windows 2000, she said.

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