According to a survey by researching firm Survey.com, formerly known as World Research, adoption of Windows 2000 will be far quicker than previous estimates. The survey says that Windows 2000 will penetrate over 40% of Windows installations by January 2001, at least three years earlier than previously expected. The conclusion: Enterprises that want to switch to Windows 2000 will be able to do so within six months to a year of the operating system's launch in late 1999.

The survey paints a heady picture for Microsoft, which is attempting to create the same market dominance it has on the desktop for its enterprise products. According to the survey, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 will account for over 80% of all servers by January 2001. Virtually all respondents to the survey said that they intended to upgrade to Windows 2000 eventually.

"\[The survey\] does indicate a faster uptake than others have said, but it is only a snapshot," said Peter Auditore, the vice president of Survey.com. "The people we are talking to are controlling the server farms, controlling the desktops. What they are telling us is the most important thing about Windows 2000 for them is reliability, more so than Active Directory or scalability."

On the downside, Survey.com says that Microsoft has sacrificed the compatibility of existing applications in an effort to make Windows 2000 more reliable and stable. Actually, maybe that isn't a downside: I think any administrator would make the same decision, given the choice. The hardware requirements, however, and contrary to Microsoft's typically rosy "minimum requirements," are quite high. Windows 2000 Server will virtually require a Pentium II 300 or better with at least 256 MB of RAM, especially if the resource-heavy Active Directory is deployed. Other services, such as Terminal Services and IntelliMirror, while require massive hardware resources. Windows 2000 Professional will realistically require 128 MB of RAM for desktop and laptop use.

"\[Active Directory\] is the foundation of Windows 2000's advantages; \[it\] will require massive changes in the logical network infrastructure," the survey states. "Furthermore, realizing the full benefits of Windows 2000 requires its presence on every server and desktop in the enterprise, and down the road, changes in the physical network infrastructure as well; enterprises will see only incremental improvements until this Redmond utopia is attained."

Windows 2000 will be released to manufacturing late this year, and Microsoft will begin realizing profits from the upgrade in the first half of 2000, fueling what is expected to be yet another blockbuster year for the software giant