Otter Tail Chooses Microsoft Windows 2000 For Greater Reliability, Lower Total Cost of Ownership

REDMOND, Wash., April 24, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Otter Tail Power Co. is electrifying its enterprise network with greater reliability and capabilities by quickly migrating to the Microsoft® Windows® 2000 platform.

The Minnesota-based electric utility already has migrated many of its servers to Windows 2000 Server and will have one-third of its desktops running Windows 2000 Professional by June.

“Choosing Windows 2000 was an easy decision because we wanted to take a significant step forward in reliability and capability,”
said Tammy Mortenson, systems programmer at Otter Tail.
“Reducing the total cost of workstation and server ownership also motivated us. We wanted to reduce administration costs and centralize management of the workstations. We also were looking for a system that would enhance productivity and integrate well.”

For example, Mortenson points to Otter Tail’s use of Terminal Services in Windows 2000.
“About 10 percent of our employees access Otter Tail’s system from their homes or other company locations via dial-up systems,”
Mortenson said.
“Windows 2000 Terminal Services allows them to run applications that previously weren’t feasible because of slow response times. We plan to have service representatives, who are dial-up users, run all their applications via Terminal Services. We selected workstations running Windows 2000 Professional to be the client device because that required no additional software and ensured future flexibility.”

Mortenson estimated that the remote administration through Terminal Services — and the overall reliability of the operating system — has resulted in a 15 percent reduction of time spent on administrative duties and added that she expects that number to grow as Otter Tail implements more Windows 2000-based servers. In addition, Mortenson estimated the company could see a significant reduction in overall administrative costs because of Windows 2000.

“Otter Tail is one of the rapidly growing number of corporations turning to Windows 2000 to enhance the reliability of their enterprise network while also boosting productivity by enabling entirely new ways to work — in this case, for mobile or remote workers,”
said Keith White, director of Windows marketing at Microsoft.
“Otter Tail’s experience shows that Windows 2000 is ideal for companies of all sizes.”

Otter Tail is running Windows 2000 in a heterogeneous environment that includes seven Windows 2000-based servers and seven Windows NT® -based servers. On the Windows 2000-based servers, the company is running Lodestar, an application that analyzes electric usage data collected from large industrial and commercial customers and generates a report. The Windows 2000-based servers also run Great Plains Dynamics and SalesLogix running atop Microsoft SQL Server TM . Otter Tail relies on Exchange Server, Windows 2000 file and print services, the Active Directory TM service, Terminal Services for both application sharing and remote administration, and remote installation services.

The move to Windows 2000 is part of the company’s response to new business challenges in the electric utility industry, according to Mortenson.
“We implemented Windows 2000 to improve the reliability of our network systems and prepare our infrastructure for these new business challenges,”
Mortenson said.
“With the deregulation of the electrical industry, marketing and collaboration have become important requirements to meet earnings growth. Also, with direct wholesale energy trading via the Internet, high availability of our systems is a mission-critical requirement.”

Mortenson said that since Otter Tail has implemented Windows 2000, the company has not experienced a single system crash or any other instances of troubled services. She specifically cited the reliability of Windows 2000 file systems, print services and security features.

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