Microsoft has clarified the migration path for Exchange on Windows 2000 to .Net, but the complex answer could be a taste of wider migration issues ahead.
The software giant confirmed that Exchange Server 2000 will not run on its .Net Server operating system, and that users will have to wait until at least next year to migrate to .Net Exchange, codenamed Titanium.
Titanium is due in beta this month with a final release scheduled for the first half of 2003.
Microsoft has promised that Titanium will be backwards compatible with Windows 2000 (with Service Pack 3 installed), making it possible to upgrade to Titanium before upgrading to .Net itself.
Ewan Dalton, architectural systems engineer at Microsoft UK, said: "The first release of Titanium will be at least feature compatible with the current Exchange 2000, but improvements to cover major features [as promised for .Net] will come in later versions."
This leaves users with little incentive to upgrade Exchange unless they are moving to .Net for other reasons.
"Unless you can produce a really good business reason to upgrade, people won't move," explained Rob Hailstone, software infrastructure research director at IDC.
He indicated that there is still a lot of misunderstanding about web services. ".Net looks like an entirely new product so is not an automatic upgrade," he said.
"Users are confused between web services and .Net, thinking that they are the same thing, but competitors offer web services on Windows."
Dan Kuznetsky, IDC's vice president of systems software research, said: "Microsoft must show users why it does something better to make people move. But it is tending to force people to upgrade using licensing that makes them keep more or less current."
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