PC Makers Jump on Win 2000 Services

FRAMINGHAM (01/28/2000) - Major hardware vendors are rolling out new services to help users deploy Microsoft Corp.'s upcoming Windows 2000 operating system.

Hewlett-Packard Co. last week became the latest to offer such services when it announced a series of Windows 2000 offerings, including readiness-assessment services, Active Directory planning and design, server and storage consolidation, proof-of-concept testing, application-staging and migration-planning services.

HP's offerings mirror those of rivals IBM and Compaq Computer Corp., both of which have made identical announcements in the past month.

In addition, all of these vendors are also ramping up their service and support staffs in preparation for the Feb. 17 launch of Windows 2000.

For example, IBM is adding 1,200 professionals to its global services group who will be focused on Microsoft technologies. This is in addition to the 4,000 Microsoft technologies support staff already employed by IBM. Compaq claims it has trained an elite core of more than 1,000 professionals whose job will be to help customers deploy Windows 2000.

"Such programs are certainly valuable," for users said Chris Hoffman, an analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass. "[Windows 2000] will have a range of new features and capabilities that are going to be unfamiliar to users for which they are going to be needing assistance," Hoffman said.

The technology also poses a slew of implementation and migration issues where users will need help, he said.

Service offerings such as these make particular sense for companies with IT departments that are small or engaged in other projects, said Rob Swider, a network administrator at Micromatic Textron, a supplier of parts to the automobile industry based in Holland, Mich. "I think all the major hardware vendors are doing a pretty decent job," with upgrade programs and support services for Windows 2000. Micromatic will wait at least six months after the release of Windows 2000 before moving to the operating system, Swider added.

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