500 Bagel Salute: Windows Server 2003 Wows Former NT 4.0 Shops

REDMOND, Wash., April 22, 2003 — 500 bagels gone in the blink of an eye.

An eating contest? Not exactly.

“It was a thank you from one of our customers,”
says Jim Hebert, general manager of the Windows Server Group.
“Fleischer’s Bagels, a family-owned bagel company in New Jersey that was very happy with what they’ve achieved with Windows Server 2003.”

All 500 bagels disappeared in less than four hours.
“Developers are a hard working bunch,”
Hebert says.
“They’re always up for some extra food.”

Fleischer’s isn’t alone in their interest and enthusiasm for Windows Server 2003. Over the past nine months, over 550,000 copies of Windows Server 2003 preview code were downloaded. Much of the initial feedback indicates that customers, large and small, indicates the new version of Windows Server will be a big win for customers.

“More people have requested this code over the past nine months than any product in Microsoft’s history,”
says Hebert.

That includes Windows XP, which is a client product. Remember, we’re talking about server software.”

With such a sizable group of customers testing Windows Server 2003, Microsoft has been able to gather a large amount of input.
“We’ve been taking advantage of the feedback from that huge group, who are using the product in many, often radically different, ways,”
says Hebert.
“Not only has that helped us create a finely tuned release, but we’ve also clearly seen that customers are able to realize significant benefits very quickly with Windows Server 2003.”

Hebert recounts a large California utility company that was able to consolidate as many as 90 file and print servers running Windows NT 4.0 down to six running Windows Server 2003. Fleischer’s Bagels was thrilled with how easy it was to migrate to the new platform. And still others find value in new features such as the Group Policy Management Console, which enables administrators to manage hundreds of desktops at once.

Herbert says the security work that went into Windows Server 2003 was well-received by early adopters.
“For Windows Server 2003, we went through a series of Trustworthy Computing audits of the source code to determine potential areas of risk for customers,”
says Hebert.
“The result is that Windows Server 2003 the most secure operating system we’ve ever produced. From the ground up, we’ve significantly reduced the ‘surface area’ of the product that can be exploited by malicious code. There simply aren’t as many doors for hackers to sneak into.”

Besides closing doors on unwelcome intruders, the platform allows for what can be dramatic server consolidation, allowing companies to substantially reduce the costs associated with operating and maintaining their servers.

“Server consolidation is huge for our customers,”
says Hebert.
“Every server, no matter how valuable its function, takes up floor space, contributes to the electricity bill, requires administration and maintenance time and is one more thing that creates complexity for businesses. Windows Server 2003 provides a great opportunity for companies to address that additional expense.”

More efficient than previous versions, Windows Server 2003 has demonstrated twice the processing capacity of Windows Server 2000 (on the same hardware platform), and outperformed Windows NT 4.0 by as much as six times across all functions and load levels in both internal and independent performance testing. Customers moving from the NT 4.0 environment can expect their servers to process between three and six times the information as their current systems.

These dramatic improvements are some of the reasons that customers have been flocking to the trial version of Windows Server 2003.
“Companies that missed the last upgrade cycle with Windows 2000 and held onto their NT 4.0 environments can now move directly to Windows Server 2003 and experience twice the benefit of the upgrade, at the same licensing cost as Windows 2000 Server,”
says Hebert.

One early adopter moving from Windows NT 4.0 was Intrawest Corp., a major international resort developer whose resort properties include Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada and 10 other resorts. Intrawest is moving the direction of its infrastructure to Windows Server 2003. With more than 150 servers and 37 domains serving a user base that fluctuates seasonally between 6,000 and 20,000, Intrawest began its upgrade with a significant opportunity to save costs over its existing systems.

“Initially we were planning to upgrade to Windows 2000,”
says Philip De Connick, technical architect at Intrawest.
“But we decided to go directly to Windows Server 2003 based on the significant advancements that Microsoft has made. In the end we expect to consolidate from more than 150 servers down to 30.”

Herbert says stories like this are generating buzz about Windows Server 2003 amongst our customers. Not every company has 150 servers spread across North America, but Windows Server 2003 represents an advancement significant enough that it can offer value to a business of any size.

“One big benefit we’ve seen for the smaller businesses and enterprise customers is in the actual implementation,”
says Hebert.
“Installing and managing Windows Server 2003 is much simpler. It uses less time and resources to manage. We’ve been getting calls after the product is implemented at a customer site, querying about whether there was anything else that needed to be done, because it was so simple. They found it much easier to deploy than previous versions, such as Windows Server NT 4.0.”

Part of the reason that implementing Windows Server 2003 has become so straightforward is Microsoft’s investment in developing tools, prescriptive guidelines and documentation to walk customers and consultants through the process. The product’s migration tools are based on server roles, such as hosting a Web site or managing a company’s applications.

“Most people think of their servers in terms of the roles they fulfill, and our documentation guides them that way,”
says Hebert.
“For example, there’s a tool that will migrate your configuration and content for Web sites and applications by taking your entire Internet Information Services 4.0 environment and move it over to IIS 6.0 and Windows Server 2003. Literally the customer just points to the server and indicates its role and we migrate it for them. We’ve got a whole series of things just like that.”

The advantage of this simplicity for customers is cost and time.
“Beyond licensing fees or any investments in hardware, the real cost of a migration such as this is in the actual work and time it takes to get there,”
says Hebert.
“And we’ve made that process a whole lot simpler in this release.”

As a result, customers moving from Windows NT 4.0 directly to Windows Server 2003 can experience twice the productivity and consolidation gains as Windows Server 2000 at what amounts to a lower total cost of ownership. It’s a formula that makes perfect business sense for NT customers of any size.

“We’ve learned that anything we can do to make it easier for customers to get where they want to go is a good thing,”
says Hebert.

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