Users upgrading to Exchange version 6.0 will be forced into a shotgun marriage with an immature and still unstable version of Microsoft Active Directory (MAD), senior industry analysts have warned.
Speaking at the Giga Information Group's Gigaworld conference in Barcelona, Richard Fichera, vice-president at analyst Giga, said: "Anyone going to the next version of Exchange is marrying Active Directory. The next version of Exchange is not proven and Active Directory is not proven, and users upgrading will be committing to both at the same time."
Frances Fawcett, NT product marketing manager, admitted that companies will miss out on some features of Exchange 6.0 by not adopting MAD. But she claimed that Exchange users making that choice would not lose out on any of the functionality they currently enjoy.
"You will be missing out on some of the features, basically the advantages you get with directory enabled applications - reduced administration," she said. Fichera warned users to beware of early success stories on deployment. He suggested that these would be the product of levels of consultancy support - from Microsoft and its partners - that most users can only dream of. This leaves ordinary users having to commit to extensive testing and evaluation of Exchange that is heavy in CPU cycles and consultancy time.
"You won't be able to know if you can scale it [MAD] and when the limitations of Active Directory come out you'll be well into deployment," Fichera added.
He also claimed that MAD will lack the drag and drop capabilities found in its rival, Novell NDS. According to Giga, this means that operators can't change printers or user information from the shell.
Giga believes that a stable server version of Windows 2000 for use in enterprise and data centre environments will not be available until at best the first, or even the second, service pack.
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