FRAMINGHAM (04/03/2000) - Wells Fargo & Co. in San Francisco is moving to Windows 2000. As a part of this process, it's abandoning NetWare and Novell Inc. Directory Services (NDS) in favor of Active Directory, a technology many analysts say is unproven.
"One of the reasons we stayed with Novell [NetWare 4.11] as long as we did was because NDS is a fine product," said Patrick Collins, vice president and engineering manager for Wells Fargo's Wholesale Banking Group. Collins' group will move its file and print services, e-mail and directory as well as 5,000 desktops to Windows 2000 by the end of the year. The company also has applications running on mainframes, several Unix systems and Windows NT. Some of these will move to Windows 2000 over time, Collins said.
"We just decided that, to simplify things, it made sense to go with Active Directory," said Collins. He said he believes it will be easier to create a single sign-on for users with Active Directory. "Too many passwords" is the biggest user complaint, said Collins.
But Charles Rutstein, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said the bank's move was probably the result of intensive Microsoft wooing. "This is a tactic Microsoft has used for many years with large customers: not only offering a good deal on the software, but also making the transition very easy for them by throwing in consulting," said Rutstein.
Collins confirmed that Microsoft offered free consulting in the overall agreement.
Rutstein said he believes that despite Wells Fargo's decision to migrate, coexistence between NDS and Active Directory will be the best approach for most enterprises. "While there is some additional pain in running two directories, there is also pain in ripping one out and in using an untested product," he said.