We are in the midst of a severe corporate downturn, where the focus is more on the bottom line than perhaps ever before. As cost-cutters keep searching for ways to trim expenses, they often find themselves looking at one of the largest non-personnel related areas: IT Infrastructure.

Computer systems are such an integral part of most modern businesses that even the slightest hiccup can cause a serious financial hit. Most workers need these computers to do their jobs and the moment systems go down, productivity hits a wall. Not only do corporations have to be concerned with stability, they are becoming more and more concerned about the ongoing costs of running these systems.

The hardware is only the first step in creating this infrastructure. Once the hardware is in place, you need the software to get it all running in a productive manner. For nearly a decade, the momentum has been towards a Client/Server model based on the Microsoft Windows NT platform and for many, the move has meant an easier to administer, easier to implement configuration. But as NT has become more entrenched and companies have become more dependent on it, corporations have had to endure a drastic increase in overall costs.

Part of the increase has been hardware related. As NT has grown and become more capable, it has demanded much faster and more robust systems to work its magic. Another part of the increase has been security related. Corporations and consumers can be a very demanding bunch, and fairly or unfairly, Microsoft has been faced with the task of trying to make NT all things to all people. In doing so, they have not been able to devote as many resources to security as they would have liked, and as a result, NT has proven to be less secure than originally hoped for. Their web server software in particular has been under assault from individual and organized attackers, and efforts have been increased to combat these intruders and to shore up the front line of defense.

But by many accounts, the largest cost of ownership increases that corporations have faced have been licensing related. As NT has become a mainstay, licensing terms have become more specific and more expensive. In addition, the explosive growth of the internet has brought security and reliability to the fore, and shoring up an evolving infrastructure can become prohibitively and increasingly expensive.

One Tale of NT's Journey Into Corporate America
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