A migration from Windows NT 4.0 Server to Windows 2000 Server with Active Directory (AD) is definitely more involved than simply running the setup program and being done with it. The process is similar to what network administrators faced in the mid- to late 1990s, when NT became the darling of most IT departments and network administrators migrated to it from Novell NetWare. (Those who have stayed with Novell will recall comparable headaches migrating from NetWare 3.x to 4.)

Of course, Microsoft documentation describes how a migration from NT to Win2K and AD is supposed to be done, but even the best documentation tends to assume ideal conditions. What is happening out in the real world?

That’s basically the question that a member recently asked TechRepublic. The member—we’ll call him Joe—is a network administrator for a midsize company. He has been asked to set up a test network and to develop a strategy for identifying and testing all existing Windows-based applications in the company to see how they will perform under Win2K and AD.

However, Joe’s efforts have been hampered by a lack of good information on tackling a migration in a multiapplication environment.

“My fear at this point is the scope of this effort, as we use a lot of packaged applications and home-grown programs, and there are many applications that integrate with other software, such as SQL and Microsoft Office applications. In addition to packages we support (both in-house and packaged software), there are small niches in the company where specialized software packages are used.”

Further complicating this scenario is the fact that a number of programs being used are allowed but not supported by the company. This includes freeware applications that have been downloaded from the Internet.

Joe’s big concerns are:

  • How to identify all of the software on the network.
  • How to decide what to test.
  • How to decide when a software package can be deemed compliant/compatible with Win2K and AD.
  • How to coordinate everything so that all application testing can be completed in conjunction with the rest of the company’s Win2K/AD effort.

If you have taken your organization through this process, Joe (and other TechRepublic members) would love to hear how you accomplished it and about the challenges you faced along the way. Are any gotchas hidden in the process of analyzing the compatibility of software and software relationships with Win2K and/or AD? Can you recommend any links to useful information or resources?

Remember that we’re looking for insights on testing the software in the Win2K and AD environment. If you have any advice you would like to share, please join the discussion below or e-mail us.