It will cost companies between $1000 and $1500 to upgrade each desktop to Windows 2000, and up to nine months to clean existing directories before implementing Active Directory, according to researcher Giga Information Group.
Users will have no choice but to add Active Directory to their Windows 2000 rollouts because the directory server is so tied in with the operating system, Giga analyst Jonathan Penn told delegates at the company's GigaWorld IT Forum 2000 conference.
However, customers are wary of whether Active Directory will have similar traits to other first versions of Microsoft software, such as having bugs and suffering from support and reliability issues, said Penn.
Active Directory adoption will initially be slow as customers realise how much they need to prepare. As well as forking out up to $1500 per desktop to upgrade to the operating system, customers must reduce their domains and clean up their existing directories to ensure implementation is relatively painless.
Companies will also need to train their in-house Microsoft staff on the directory server, which could take up to two weeks for every worker, said Penn.
However, there are many benefits to Active Directory, including easier management of Exchange and Back Office applications, and the ability to aggregate third-party databases through Microsoft's acquisition of meta directory developer, Zoomit.
And as more information is stored in Active Directory there will be less need for directory synchronisation, which has always been a bugbear for users, said Penn.
"Microsoft has been very successful at getting independent software vendor support - almost as much as for Novell NDS. By the end of the year you'll see more support for and tight integration of Active Directory with customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning products," he added.
"The low hanging fruit for Active Directory will be in desktop management and general management of user network operating system accounts."
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