Dell moved all its Dell.com Web servers to Windows 2000 and immediately experienced a 20 percent increase in performance. Many businesses are beginning to migrate to Win2K in hopes of gaining similar benefits. Therefore, hardware companies (e.g., Compaq, Hewlett-Packard—HP, Dell, Unisys, Data General), services companies (e.g., IBM Global Services—IGS, Computer Associates'—CA's—Global Professional Services—GPS—organization), and large consulting groups have begun to publicize strategies and services to support migrations to Win2K. IBM led this group with a strategy announcement in November 1999; HP, CA, Compaq, and Dell followed with announcements coinciding with the February 2000 Win2K launch.

Nearly every vendor's migration-services package consists of assessment, architecture and design, planning, implementation, pilot testing, and management components. At press time, most vendors hadn't formulated or divulged many of the programs' prices. When vendors can better assess the cost of Win2K deployments, many will shift from per-project pricing to a model that specifies and advertises prices.

David Stubbs, HP's general manager of the Microsoft services operation, said HP believes 40 percent of its midsize and enterprise customers will deploy Win2K in 2000. HP's Win2K services focus on Active Directory (AD) planning and implementation, server and storage consolidation, and application and services testing.

CA's GPS group offers services to companies that plan to migrate applications, software products, and systems infrastructure to Win2K. The GPS program, Express Delivery, offers a project-management procedure with advanced automation tools. CA claims this program substantially reduces the length of Win2K migration projects. The components of this method are discovery and modeling, desktop migration, member-service migration, and domain-server migration. CA offers a project planner at the company Web site that lets you create a migration plan for your network.

Compaq, a Microsoft Win2K launch partner, groups its migration services into a portfolio of services called modules. For example, a migration assessment module might include an analyst visit to your site, an evaluation, and a proposal and schedule for acquiring new equipment. Compaq also provides price ranges for its services. An implementation module costs between $1200 and $1500 per server. For information about other modules and costs of services, see Table 2.

Compaq additionally offers management services on a 5-day-per-week basis with a 2-hour-or-less response time. These services are for high-availability solutions, clusters, and customer service and support groups. The plans range in cost from $70 to $470 per month for 5-day-per-week service with a 2-hour response time. Compaq also offers a plan that starts at $586 and offers 24 * 7 coverage with a 1-hour response time.

Dell revealed its Premier Migration Program in November 1998, but after the Win2K launch, Dell added new features, such as free readiness-assessment services. You can obtain the Readiness Advisor from Dell's Web site at http://www.dell.com/windows2000. This Web-based tool lets you submit your service tag (i.e., computer ID), then gives you the necessary information to perform a system upgrade. Dell also has an EducateU tool that offers a Web-based tutorial that covers Win2K subjects. The Dell Plus program offers custom software necessary for upgrades and Win2K images that you can use to clone a complete Win2K setup on your system.

Bill Peterson, director of services marketing, said Dell's migration support is both enterprisewide and per server and workstation. Through Dell's direct sales model, the company has programs in place to support any size migration.

The Dell Technology Consulting group offers enterprise services to customers. This group's focus is on delivering e-commerce technology that the group developed for Dell.com and on rapidly deploying Win2K hardware and software products, such as Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Cluster Services (MSCS) solutions. Many services that Dell offers for the client side are free. Dell bills for time and materials; for about $10,000 (on average), Dell's consulting architects visit large clients' sites to design a migration plan.

The group also concentrates on developing Win2K-based Storage Area Network (SAN) technology—a business that is growing annually at 70 percent. Barry Hutt, director of Dell Services, foresees a strong demand for clustering in the enterprise; he said clustering is the most rapidly growing service Dell offers. In addition to migration services, Dell Technology Consulting is responsible for testing customer solutions at the company's application solution centers in New Jersey, Texas, Ireland, and China.

Most hardware vendors, services companies, and large consulting groups have realized that Win2K offers them a market opportunity to provide migration services as part of large hardware deployments. A large part of these vendors' migration services pitch is their ability to deliver larger systems on Win2K, thus performing server consolidation for customers as well. For these companies, money they make from migration services is just icing on the cake.