Give Windows 2000 a close look before using it for

Ubiquitous Internet access has made “always-on” applications much more common. It’s not just hospitals and currency trading desks that demand nonstop computing anymore – it’s now a requirement across many companies. Microsoft Corp.’s, well, monopoly position in the operating system market has made Win 2000 a likely platform for such applications.

But how fit is Win 2000 to handle such demands? From what I’ve seen, chief information officers had better look hard before giving the Microsoft software that job.

Bold advertisements about Win 2000 Professional’s “crash-resistant” nature would indicate that Microsoft believes its new software is up to the task. The company declares unequivocally that test results show the operating system is 13 times more reliable than Windows 98. Windows 98!

Ouch. That is like saying a new defense system is many times more secure than the Maginot Line. Or having Al Gore say he’s 13 times more faithful than his current boss.

Microsoft’s claims notwithstanding, initial research into Win 2000’s network capabilities by Tolly Research (a sister organization) seems to indicate that whatever inherent basic reliability exists, it drops significantly if you actually want to use Win 2000 to communicate with another device.

Tolly Research is conducting an ongoing study of Win 2000 networking. While not trying to ferret out bugs, the researchers have nonetheless uncovered bugs aplenty. The bugs are of minor importance; once identified, they can be fixed. More important is the general sense one gets of Microsoft’s direction in key areas associated with “reliability.”

Let’s look at a few examples: