IT Pros Take Wait-and-See Stance on SP2

eWEEK labs asked members of the eWEEK Corporate Partner Advisory Board whose companies are running Windows XP whether and when they are planning to deploy Windows XP Service Pack 2.

eWEEK labs asked members of the eWEEK Corporate Partner Advisory Board whose companies are running Windows XP whether and when they are planning to deploy Windows XP Service Pack 2 and what challenges they anticipate in doing so. We also asked them what more they want to see from Microsoft Corp.

About 80 percent of the PCs/laptops here have been installed or upgraded to Windows XP Professional. Were starting to evaluate and plan for both the Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Office XP updates.

Well need to do a set of extensive tests with our applications, as well as with our distribution software platform. One of the challenges will be to properly configure the operating system to disable ICF [Internet Connection Firewall] on LAN connections as we deploy the update. Leaving it on will cause problems with our software distribution tool. I anticipate starting to deploy the XP service pack within the next few months.

Microsoft needs to keep focused on the security side of its software but also start looking at building software applications at the enterprise level (including Microsoft Project 2003 Server) that work with other database vendor solutions. Im tired of having to purchase Microsoft solutions that require us to maintain a series of SQL Server database instances. What CIOs really want is the ability to select the right software solution and manage, as appropriate, the middle and back-end tier. —Greg Smith, vice president and CIO, World Wildlife Fund, Washington

We have deployed Windows XP on several hundred desktops and will continue to do so until the entire enterprise (comprising several thousand desktops) is moved to XP. We anticipate deploying the new service pack within the next several weeks. However, this will happen after intensive testing against our desktop configurations to ensure compatibility with all deployed applications.

One of the items that Microsoft is attempting to satisfy with the release of Service Pack 2 is security. I think it would assist many network administrators and even home users if Microsoft would create an application that described the purpose of many of the cryptic applications that are listed as running in Task Manager. Task Manager can be a great tool for determining if rogue applications are running, but Microsoft should enhance Task Manager to allow users or network administrators to better understand what applications are running on a system. —Carl Ashkin, CEO, Darby Group Cos., Westbury, N.Y.

Windows XP is deployed on approximately 20 systems, with plans to move about 400 systems. We will be deploying Windows XP Service Pack 2, and we anticipate having to spend a significant amount of time testing it prior to deployment to fully understand the impact the changes will have on our systems. We normally account for some period of time between the release of a service pack and our implementing it, with the testing that is required. However, I expect this process to take longer than usual given all of the changes in the XP service pack. We will also need to ensure that it does not break any current functionality.

Microsoft is finally moving in the right direction in terms of focusing on security, but it will need to work tirelessly to patch newly discovered holes—thoroughly testing these patches—and I would like to see the company improve the options for widespread delivery and management of patch levels in the enterprise. —Michael Skaff, manager of IT/NOC, AdSpace Networks Inc., Burlingame, Calif.

About 8 percent of systems, 50 or so, are currently running Windows XP. We will be converting to XP early next fiscal year. We will run some test cases of the new service pack between now and Sept. 1. The rest of the testing will be done after Oct. 15.

The biggest challenge will be the new firewall in the service pack. It appears, based on initial reviews, that the firewall does not have the granularity needed to operate properly in our environment. This view could change as we begin to test it, of course. —Robert Rosen, CIO, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases, Bethesda, Md.

For at least a year, we have been buying all new computers with Windows XP, but we deploy XP only on laptops; for desktops, we reimage with Windows 2000. We will wait until the dust clears to deploy Windows XP Service Pack 2 to the 50 or so systems currently running the OS. We have no compelling reason to install SP2 immediately. —Jorge Abellas-Martin, vice president and CIO, Arnold Worldwide, Boston


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