Microsoft Steps Up Efforts to Lure Unix Migrators

Microsoft is working to provide greater support and services around these migrations.

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday launched a more comprehensive program to help drive customers away from Unix and onto the Windows platform.

While Microsoft has previously offered individual tools to help in this regard—such as its Services for Unix software, which allows greater operability between existing Unix-based enterprise systems and Windows on both the server and desktop—the idea now is to provide greater support and services around these migrations.

The new program, known as the Microsoft Solution for Unix Migration, was announced Tuesday at the Microsoft Exchange Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Doug Miller, director of Microsofts Unix migration strategy, told eWEEK in an interview that enterprises are migrating away from high-cost Unix systems to Windows, as they now feel more comfortable running their large workloads on Windows and getting the scalability, reliability and full integration stack.

"Clearly, Windows is a far lower cost platform to operate over the lifetime of the server platform. Time to market is also a key driving factor. Customers moving from Unix to Windows often dont want to rewrite their applications, and they want to integrate with existing technologies and leverage existing code and skills to lower the cost," he said.

The new program is centered on not just migration but also better integration of customer applications and prescriptive guidance on how to migrate those applications and potentially evolve them to .Net in a predictable, risk-free way.

On the technology front, Miller said Microsoft is also working on some major enhancements to Visual Studio .Net that will make it more approachable for Unix developers as well as new features in the upcoming Windows .Net server 2003 family.

"A major new component of this program is in the services and content area. On the content side, weve announced the availability of our Unix Application Migration Guide on MSDN, which addresses integration challenges and deployment issues. It walks through a number of scenarios and provides code samples," Miller said.

On the service side, Microsoft is offering two-day architect-level workshops where it will sit down with the customer and go through a draft plan of how they can accomplish this integration and migration as well as a range of solutions.

Another component of the program is Microsofts commitment to working with third parties in both the tool space and the services space. Dell, IBM Global Services, Unisys, Intel and others support the initiative, he said.

"We are seeing substantial uptake and have over 50 public case studies available around various migration projects weve undertaken over the past year," Miller said.