“Managing resources is easy with NT”

Kishore Bhargava, consultant with C&B
Consulting, has ample experience in setting up NT-based networks as well as applications
like Exchange Server, both in India and abroad. Here he shares his experiences with NT as
well as other operating systems.

Windows NT has been an unqualified
success. What would you attribute this to?

First of all, ease of use. And then there is Microsoft. The company has done a very good
job of selling it.

What exactly would you mean by ease
of use? Is it the Graphical User Interface and ease of installation?

Managing resources is very easy with NT. Then it has the familiar Win95 look and feel.

NT has relatively successfully
targeted NetWare. Is it doing the same thing with Unix too?

The biggest problem with NetWare is that NDS is really not meant for small networks. That
gave NT an easy entry point into this segment with its ease of getting going. NDS is meant
for large networks. In India, this has more or less been the monopoly of Unix. So, as far
as Microsoft is concerned, NetWare is now out of the picture. The next big guy is Unix.

What about costs?
When it comes to costs, nothing can beat Linux, because in most cases it is free. NT is
probably next best.

And technical support for NT?
Sure, MS can give you support, but the number of times I have had to battle with MS
worldwide for support is not funny. I would much rather go to the Net and get support from
the newsgroups.

How robust do you think NT is?
NT has a problem with its tools for data recovery. There is nothing built in. For example,
NT’s defrag is not as good as say the fsck utility available in all flavors of Unix. In
Unix if the file system gets corrupted, fsck is able to rebuild the whole thing. With NT’s
defrag, that is not possible.

And security?
That’s another front where there still exist problems. For example, a small freely
available program-NTFSDOS -can read the entire NTFS in read-only mode. Similarly from
Unix, if you run a small freeware program called Samba, you can mount an NTFS partition
and read it.

NT’s biggest problem is that after
installation, by default, it is open and everything is available to everyone. That is
something you have to be careful about, particularly if you are doing Internet servers and
things of that nature which are open to public access.

For what type of usage would you
recommend NT?

NT is great for small offices where there is a budget constraint or in larger environments
for running multiple servers, a server for every application. In this case, you will have
to have a group of servers each running a different application.

What about high-end transaction
oriented applications. Assume you have the same amount of resources? In such a situation
is Unix better, or is NT better?

Unix currently seems to be better for such situations.

Then how is it that NT is being
used in those segments also?

The number one reason is NT’s ease of use compared to Unix. Setting up networks using NT
is much easier and faster than on Unix.

What do you think is the direction
that NT is taking?

NT is positioning itself as the one network OS for anyone. But it still needs serious work
before it can knock off the high-end Unix machines.

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