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Super Tuesday: Windows stalling migrations

Early next week, Microsoft will release another "Patch Tuesday" set of security bulletins to the Windows environment. It will be a big event for the customers who rely on Windows XP and use Windows as their enterprise servers. These environments need to be maintained rigorously, and some patches will require a restart of Windows systems.

That is the kind of interruption hard to point at in the 3000 environment: a single day when many machines are forced to come offline. On a regular basis, HP sends out security patch alerts for HP-UX, too, many of which are labelled critical by HP, if not necessarily by the customers.

The Windows churn is keeping 3000 sites busy, according to Platinum migration partner Birket Foster. He points out that Microsoft will be moving its operating environments to 64 bits very soon, in IT terms. Vista is the last environment likely to work under 32 bits, so 3000 sites are stocking up on PCs, ahead of a regular purchasing schedule, to stay in the 32-bit world. Why? It has a lot to do with staffing, and the lack of it for Windows administration.       

Without a Windows MCSE on staff, Foster says, many companies install a new version of Windows by buying PCs with the OS already loaded. It's the most costly way to upgrade, considering there's new hardware on every install.

"People are having their budgets for 3000 migrations eaten by doing these last buys of these PCs," Foster says. IT shops freeze their budgets for 3000s for three years, just to assemble the funds to "homestead" on 32-bit Windows. Ordinarily a company will roll over its PCs one-third at a time. The Microsoft push has some sites buying three years worth of desktops and servers in a single year.

Whether it's HP-UX, Windows or MPE/iX, every operating environment has its changes, most sparked by the vendor. Windows gives the appearance of a less costly enterprise investment, so long as the company controller doesn't look too close at where the day-to-day spending occurs.