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Determining deployment costs for Windows 2000 Server

Just as many organizations are deploying Windows 2000 Professional on the desktop, the same businesses are migrating to Windows 2000 Server to handle back-office applications. Designed to replace Windows NT, Windows 2000 Server, geared toward small to medium-size companies, brings a new passel of tools for organizations.

Designed to replace Windows NT, Windows 2000 Server, geared toward small to medium-size companies, brings a new passel of tools for organizations, including:

  • Applications development services
  • File and storage management
  • Scalability and security
  • Application services like COM +
  • XML support

Of greatest value for administrators is Win2K Server's Microsoft Management Console, which allows administrators to manage most aspects of OS and Web components through a single interface.

But before you can deploy Windows 2000 Server, you have to determine how much it will cost your organization. As a "case study" to help you plan and budget your deployment, we've created a fictional company—Steve's Widgetwares—to illustrate the issues and the costs related to deploying this platform in a typical organization. We'll follow them as they upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 Server, and we'll look at their costs along the way to help you get some sort of a real-world cost estimate.

Begin by evaluating dependencies

You should start your organization's deployment by evaluating any dependencies that will be affected by an upgrade to Windows 2000 Server. For example, if you have software that will need to be upgraded to a new version to function with Windows 2000—like database, application server, and Web server software—you must include that in your total deployment cost.

You may also want to include the cost of incidental application upgrades for programs that you will be updating anyway to bring your systems up to date.

Steve's dependencies

Steve's Widgetwares will need to upgrade to a new version of their database platform so it can function with Windows 2000 Server. The database upgrade will cost Steve's $20,000 plus $100 per workstation for 135 workstations, totaling $33,500.

Hardware costs

Hardware costs can vary greatly depending on the size of your servers and which hardware vendors your company uses. You can purchase a reliable Windows 2000 server for as little as $2,500 or as much as $50,000 (or more). Your server costs will be determined by the processor speed, number of processors, required RAM, required storage, and other required hardware you choose to purchase.

Further, unlike Windows 2000 Professional, it is very difficult (and risky) to perform an in-place upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 Server to Windows 2000 Server on an existing computer. Upgrading an existing computer to Windows 2000 Server may result in corrupting the entire system—and possibly the network—as well as making the servers' network services unavailable while the upgrade is in process. Plus, it's neither easy nor simple (nor generally successful) to undo an in-place upgrade.

Because most organizations are dependent on server applications and want to avoid the aforementioned risks, they will replace and/or retire old servers and purchase new servers to carry out the upgrade.

But if your budget doesn't allow for the purchase of new servers, another option is to perform a cascade upgrade, which requires that you have one "extra" machine. You upgrade that machine to Windows 2000 Server first and then move one of your existing server's applications to that server. When the upgraded server is functional, you perform a clean upgrade on the server the new one replaced and so on until all of the servers have been upgraded.

If you choose to perform a cascade upgrade, you will probably need at least one new machine, which should include the Windows 2000 Server license (and possibly 10 or more client licenses). You may also choose to include new tape backup systems and associated software, storage arrays and/or subsystems, etc. If expanding storage is not a critical issue, however, you can probably avoid the extra expense of storage arrays and get by with a few SCSI drives, depending on the type of applications your servers are running and the flow of data across your servers.

Steve's hardware

Steve's Widgetwares has 20 Windows NT servers that need to be upgraded to Windows 2000 Server. Rather than perform in-place upgrades, Steve's decided to replace these machines with new, faster machines, bought from Dell for about $10,000 each.

Steve's also purchased some EMC storage arrays to use with the new servers, which cost around $300,000. The new storage system will allow Steve's to centrally manage their storage, plus add a performance boost for their disk I/O (input/output). Steve's total hardware costs are $500,000.

Training and support costs

Because Windows 2000 Server includes several advancements since Windows 4.0 Server, your engineers and administrators may need additional training to support your servers. Bypassing training will force your support staff to learn as they go, which can dramatically impact your servers' health and performance. You can calculate this cost by multiplying the number of staff requiring Windows 2000 Server training by the cost of the training itself. (Some certification classes can run as high as $10,000 per administrator.)

Steve's training and support

When Steve's rolled out Windows 2000 Professional, it invested in training its administrators in both Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server.

Staffing

You will likely want your own administrators to perform the upgrades and to understand how the new servers are set up. You may, however, need to consider hiring additional staff from the outside to perform traditional user support while your administrators are tied up with server upgrades.

Steve's staff

Steve's staff believes the upgrade is going to require a lot of time, so Steve's has hired three additional support technicians to help fill in for the administrators during the four-week upgrade period. These technicians will cost Steve's about $95 an hour, totaling $45,600.

Licensing

You will obviously incur a cost for licensing the actual Windows 2000 Server itself, as well as the cost to purchase a license for each user connecting to the Windows 2000 Server.

Steve's licensing

Steve's will receive Windows 2000 Server with a 10-user license with each server they purchase, but they will need to purchase an additional 240 client licenses. Steve's has found an online retailer who will sell 20 Client Access Licenses (CALs) for $670. The total licensing cost for Steve's is $8,040.

Ttime investment

You should also consider the time investment involved in upgrading your servers to Windows 2000 Server. Unlike deploying a desktop solution, most organizations will need to calculate the time for each server individually rather than creating one server and duplicating it. An estimate of the time required to upgrade a server is around 20 to 24 hours, which we'll average to 22 hours per server.

Steve's time

Steve's technicians make roughly $26.45 per hour, and Steve's has 20 servers to upgrade, so if we use the average of 22 hours to perform each upgrade, the total cost is about $11,640.

Summary

Steve's Widgetwares is investing a lot of money in the deployment of Windows 2000 Server. Table A shows the itemized costs for Steve's upgrade.

Description Cost
Database upgrade $33,500
Hardware with Windows 2000 Server $500,000
Staff $45,600
Client access licenses $8,040
Time $11,640
   
Total $598,780

Table A: Steve's Widgetwares upgrade costs

Author: Brian Schaffner is a Senior Consultant for DMR Consulting's EAI practice. His experience includes programming, database design, systems architecture, enterprise technology strategies, and technology management. He was previously the director of IT for Directec Corp., a Louisville, KY-based technology distributor, and the manager of Internet services for ACCENT Marketing Services.

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