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Why Would Anyone Need More Than 50 IP Addresses?

Written By: R. Krause
Published On: April 25 2000

Why Would Anyone Need More Than 50 IP Addresses?
R. Krause - April 25th, 2000

Event Summary

(03/31/00, 10:23 a.m. ET)

The first major bug in Windows 2000 Server has been reported. This bug deals with the ability of an administrator to add IP address to servers configured as domain controllers. The bug, as reproduced by Computer Reseller News, limits the number of IP addresses an administrator can add to approximately 50. Without a remedy, this bug can create serious problems for some enterprises, as well as ISPs. In addition to the bug causing administrative tool problems, it can prevent user authentication - a basic requirement for enterprise servers.

The problem was first isolated by North Carolina-based Terabyte Computer, a consulting firm. It has since been confirmed by other sources. When questioned by one source, Microsoft called this an "issue", not a bug.

Market Impact

Microsoft shipped Windows 2000 (Win2K) after much delay and some de-featuring, heralding it as the OS for the enterprise, for e-commerce, etc. Microsoft apparently calls this an "issue", not a bug, which begs the question: what does it take for Microsoft to qualify something as a bug? What this points to is inadequate testing/QA (quality assurance) of the software, which often results from excessive schedule pressure due to delays.

A word on behalf of Microsoft: Microsoft says it has shipped a million copies of Windows 2000 already, although there is no breakdown of server vs. desktop at present. In addition, Microsoft's beta testers did a lot of pre-work on Win2K. The combination of these data leads us to question how reproducible this bug is, and whether there was a special set of circumstances only Terabyte has produced. However, since the bug has been reproduced by at least two other sources, it is unlikely that it's a Terabyte-specific configuration.

That being said: with Microsoft's PR blitz about robustness and powering your Internet business and so forth, this appears to be something of a black eye. We expect the folks at Red Hat, and Sun CEO Scott McNealy, to milk this for all they can. The FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that competitors will apply (depending on Microsoft's resolution of this issue) will re-raise the specter of Windows not being a "bet your business" OS. Unless this issue is resolved quickly, and to the satisfaction of the Microsoft-neutral observers, this problem has the potential to depress Win2K sales.

User Recommendations

Customers who are small (and planning to stay small) will not be especially affected by this particular bug - oops! we mean "issue". "Small" is defined here as 50 systems or less (maybe 45 is a safer number, allowing for overage). Unfortunately, Windows 2000 Server is targeted at small, medium, and large enterprises.

Customers who need those extra IP addresses should think twice before upgrading to Windows 2000 Server at this time. As we have commented in the past, it is generally a good idea for users to wait for Service Pack 1 or 2 before moving to a new Microsoft OS, especially if they have critical applications or a critical business need.

The other issue this raises is whether there are other bugs out there, just as critical, which were missed by Microsoft's QA group. All the testimonials in the world will mean little if more show-stopper bugs appear. We hope/expect Microsoft will fix this bug before the as-yet-unreleased Datacenter version of Windows 2000 ships (since it will be their flagship OS), but the added complexity of Datacenter likely means more bugs to be found .

 
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