Users should be careful when listening to the hype surrounding Microsoft?s Windows NT because while the operating system is slowly becoming more scalable, it is certainly not there yet.
This was one of the key messages to come out of the Gartner Group?s fifth annual Enterprise Systems conference in Chicago this week, when analysts also warned that the current solution of throwing more NT boxes at the problem simply ended up as a management nightmare.
Erik Keller, Gartner?s research director, explained: ?There?s a fad at the moment about how NT is going to solve everyone?s problems and while NT can handle most jobs, it?s at the expense of complexity. The hundred or so application servers necessary to scale are difficult to manage and to make a scaleable server, users need to start playing about with source code, which brings its own problems.?
Paul McGuckin, also a Gartner research director, warned that NT?s scalability was well behind other operating systems and would continue to be so over the next five years.
At the moment, he said, NT supports about concurrent 600 users, compared to Unix?s 3,000 and IBM S/390?s 4,500. By 2000, this will increase to 1,000 for NT, 4,500 for Unix and 7,500 for S/390, rising to 3,000 for NT, 9,000 for Unix and 11,500 for the S/390 by 2003.
But, he advised: ?I would consider the ?comfort zone? to be about three-quarters of the number of users given here, and if users go more than 10 per cent above that mark, then they?re moving into dangerous and unchartered waters and will need to address the unknowns in scalability and high availability.?
As a result, he said, NT was still used mainly in smaller shops and by those who resisted moving to Unix for their core mission-critical applications. Into the future, it would become the path of least resistance for AS/400 users as the platform dwindled, but by 2000, some 50 per cent of users would use it as an alternative to other platforms for back office applications.
For more details, see analysis section.
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