REDMOND, Wash., March 29, 2000 — Managing a network with multiple operating systems can be a headache for many companies, making networks of all sizes excessively complicated and inefficient. “When I came to RealMed, we had Sun running our Internet caching server, Novell running File and Print, and Apache hosting our Web site,” says Eric Bird, RealMed Corporation’s manager of Internal Systems. “It was a real mess from an administrator’s perspective. After standardizing on Windows 2000 Server, it was a different story. Now we’re developing new solutions instead of troubleshooting system problems. It’s been a strategic gain for us to move to one operating system that fills many roles.”
Gay Sherman, senior administrator of network services for the Orange County School District in Orlando, Florida, agrees. “Windows 2000 is our backbone now,” she says. “We don’t need a File and Print OS and an Application OS. We just need Windows 2000 Server.” Her team now uses their time to add new and productive services to district schools, instead of chasing down incompatibility issues within the network.
Why do so many companies run multiple operating systems? Years of decentralization within Information Technology (IT) organizations have contributed to the confusion. However, the trend is starting to reverse itself as standards emerge that help reduce the complexity of the technology used by a corporation. Today’s CTOs are seeing that enforceable standards and consolidation on all systems is the way to go to reduce the expenses and headaches of running IT.
Windows 2000 Server is the operating system of choice for today’s companies of any size seeking to standardize on one system. That’s no surprise to companies using Windows NT as an application server. But with the release of Windows 2000, network administrators can now run their entire network, desktops and laptops on one highly reliable, cost-efficient operating system. Dollar for dollar, Windows 2000 Server beats the price to performance ratios of the competition, as demonstrated by the new world record-setting TPC benchmark of 227,079 tpmCs performed on running COMPAQ ProLiant systems, with Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Microsoft SQL Server. This new world record is almost twice as fast as the nearest competitor, at one-fourth the price/performance.
Companies are finding that not only does consolidating onto one operating system boost IT efficiency and user productivity, but also that the features in Windows 2000 solve many network problems.
“With Active Directory, we are able to design a directory around our business architecture,” said Patrick Collins, vice president and engineering manager of Wholesale Systems at Wells Fargo. “At the same time, our business processes demand an operating system that allows us to consolidate our applications and the majority of our networking infrastructure onto a single platform to drive down management costs. With Windows 2000 Server, we have found our solution.”
The Orange County School District has deployed 120 servers with Windows 2000, supporting approximately 10,000 students and faculty. The move to Windows 2000 has already improved the district’s network backbone by eliminating one network protocol. When your network is as large and vast as ours, you can’t afford to have IPX polling consume precious bandwidth resources,” says Sherman.
Shared Resource Management (SRM), a solutions integration organization in St. Paul, used to work with their clients to design and implement Novell Netware networks. But as soon as the SRM team began working with Windows 2000, their business model underwent a paradigm shift. The company changed its focus to help customers move their Netware to Windows 2000. “Active Directory is the future for customers who want to have a fully integrated application and human directory. We have seen clients in mixed operating system modes, but that time is over. Now our customers have a world class directory and, application hosting all on the same network, with only one centralized management console,” says Andy Summers, SRM’s IT Manager.
Along with the technology benefits, SRM showcases the dollar savings provided by Windows 2000. SRM has signed up many local clients to conduct an assessment of the costs and savings associated with moving their network to Windows 2000. “Most of our clients come in with the assumption that consolidating their operating systems will be an expensive undertaking,” says Marty Foote, marketing manager for SRM. “We conduct a rapid economic justification (REJ) study to determine the real cost savings that a company will get from moving to a single Windows 2000 platform. When we’re done, clients typically ask, ‘when can we get started with Windows 2000?'” said Tony Jurgens, manager of Network Solutions at SRM.
RealMed is helping health care insurance companies, , medical providers and patients by developing the first system in the United States to process, resolve and pay health care claims in seconds, at the point of service. . RealMed has signed agreements with five national health care insurance companies to integrate its leading edge technology into their existing mainframe legacy computer systems. The RealMed solution results in doctors getting paid in a couple of days, not weeks or months, patients avoid the hassle of claims related paperwork, and health care insurance companies dramatically reduce costs.
A key element of the RealMed Network is smart card technology. Smart cards are utilized in the medical provider’s office as a “key” to unlock the RealMed network. Some health care insurance companies will also provide patients with smart cards that will contain insurance eligibility and coverage information, ensuring that patient data is kept secure and confidential.
For a company that champions simplifying the healthcare claims process, it was especially frustrating to have a complicated network. When Manager of Internal Systems Eric Bird joined RealMed, the network ran a variety of operating systems: 5 Netware Servers supporting a NDS Tree, a handful of Linux Servers and a Sun Server — each with its own set of instructions. Bird knew that as a startup, RealMed needed to find ways to save the company money and ease the administrative burdens on his support team. As there was no time to waste, Eric and his team converted the network to Windows 2000 Server and Professional within 14 days. The network operations have been smooth sailing ever since.
“Windows 2000 provides us a platform to easily manage our Web, custom and packaged applications with far superior reliability,” says Bird. “By standardizing on Windows 2000, we now have the time to perfect new solutions that will continue to enhance our business going forward. We are making our IT organization a real asset to this company instead of the gatekeepers.”