High-Altitude Headache

While it may be the toughest part of the implementation, the action's not just at the Windows 2000 Server.

While it may be the toughest part of the implementation, the actions not just at the Windows 2000 Server. You need to be running Windows 2000 Pro at the desktop to make full use of the features of Active Directory. Need help? Even being a Microsoft rapid deployment partner (RDP) doesnt mean Windows 2000 appears everywhere overnight. Just ask Boeing Corp.

According to Bob Jorgensen, the director of public relations at the companys shared services group, Boeing currently has about 5,000 desktops running Win2K Professional and a percentage of machines running versions of Win2K Server, all installed during 2000.

Although rolling out that many copies of Win2K is significant, Jorgensen admits Boeing has a way to go. Thats because Boeing is a big company. "Many people think of airplanes when they think of Boeing. Were also the worlds largest defense contractor and big into satellites, too," Jorgensen declares.

With the acquisition of McDonnell Douglas, Rockwells aerospace unit, portions of Hughes Electronics business, Iridium, and a few other small companies, Boeings total workforce exceeds 195,000 employees and the company plans to have more than 150,000 desktop systems in use over the next three years.

Given that most of Boeings current desktops are two to three years old, the company decided it was not cost-effective to upgrade the old systems to run the new OS. Hence, Win2K Professional usually goes on machines in new deployments.

Although the decision to move to Win2K was centralized, the judgment on when to deploy new systems was left to divisional managers. Factors influencing the decision include whether each divisions suppliers and customers use Win2K and the cost of the new systems.

With the average price of a new desktop with all licenses running approximately $1,500, its certainly not chump change.

Availability and staging the rollouts are also factors. Both manufacturers and purchasers need a timely process for handling orders for 150,000 desktop machines.

As to the future, Jorgensens shared the schedule. "Today, its 5,000 desktops. Ask me a year from now and it should be 50,000 desktops, 100,000 by the end of 2002, and the last of the 150,000 within another 18 months." Jorgensen also confided that Boeing is pondering another problem—what to do with all of those old computers when the new ones are deployed.