This book helps you look before you leap

What is the most pressing business question of the 90s? I don't have a surefire answer, but "Should my company switch to Windows NT?" is a good candidate. However, the question's popularity does not make it easy to answer. Basing your choice of network operating system (NOS) on solid reasoning and your firm's unique needs can be trickier than you might think.

Many books explain the minutia of installing and running an NT network, but Looking into Windows NT: A Before-You-Leap Guide to Microsoft's Network Solution is the first book I've come across to address the NT purchase from a business standpoint. Nontechnical staff will appreciate this book for its readable, practically jargon-free style, and technical types will find the book's insights into the business case for NT informative. Many systems administrators have never analyzed the operating system decision from a business manager's point of view.

Essential Issues
The book examines the intricacies of a corporation's decision whether to switch to NT. It analyzes the company's network infrastructure, protocols, remote needs, and directory services requirements. It also focuses attention on the issues the company's managers face in making their NT decision.

Perhaps the most crucial question the model firm deals with is, "What effect would NT have on our current applications?" Although most 16-bit applications are compatible with NT, some are not. Every firm that is consider-
ing migrating to NT must figure out which of its current applications will run well on NT and which applications are not NT-compatible. Looking into Windows NT attempts to help you in that process.

The book also describes some of NT's most popular features, including remote administration, security, ActiveX, and Internet connectivity. It also examines how innovations such as the NT file system, distributed file systems, RAID, and hardware scalability affect an organization running NT.

Another topic the book addresses is other companies' experiences with NT. It surveys the applications firms are running, the firms' remote access use patterns, and the firms' hardware configurations. Additionally, the book takes an in-depth look at NT's domain architecture in an attempt to determine which domain model scales best for companies of various sizes, from large, multinational corporations to small, single-office firms.

The book analyzes the way Microsoft uses NT. The book's detailed description of the structure of Microsoft's internal domain gives you an understanding of how NT's creators meant for large-scale operations to use NT.

Looking into Windows NT: A Before-You-Leap Guide to Microsoft's Network Solution
Author: Steven Levenson
Publisher: Amacom Publishing, New York, 1997
ISBN: 0-81447-957-X
Price: $27.95; 155 pages

Looking into Windows NT also explains how to add NT to a Novell NetWare or UNIX environment. It details the tools, methods, and utilities NT uses in NetWare-to-NT migrations and contains helpful information on migrating from UNIX.

Beyond Microsoft Marketing
The basic question underlying Looking into Windows NT is, "Can NT really add value to your business?" The book opens with the statement, "Microsoft's products are pretty good, but their marketing and sales organization is even better." By clarifying the issues business managers must address in their evaluation of NT, this book helps you break through Microsoft's marketing hype to see if NT will truly meet your company's needs.

The book comes in at 155 pages, and you can read it in a few hours. It doesn't try to answer every question about NT, but it does cover all the rudiments. If you are trying to decide whether to switch to NT, get this book and then call Microsoft. Not the other way around.