When explosives manufacturer Dyno Nobel ASA began looking for a way to upgrade its sputtering SAP applications, it considered reinvesting in the Hewlett-Packard Unix systems already supporting them or even relocating the apps to a different data center where they might be managed at a lower cost. Instead, Dyno Nobel moved its applications to Windows-based servers hosted by AT&T.
"We had performance issues with our SAP setup," says Morten Stodle, VP of information systems and IT at Dyno Nobel. Part of the problem was that the underlying Informix database and HP-UX servers weren't effectively configured with the applications. "We needed to do something," Stodle says.
For a growing number of business-technology managers in similar situations, that "something" involves moving their enterprise- resource-planning applications from Unix to Windows. ERP-on-Windows servers edged out ERP-on-Unix servers last year, and the margin will widen over the next few years, technology research firm IDC says.
"The Windows platform has become one of the preferred environments for ERP vendors, mainly because of the increase in the number of Windows servers out there," IDC analyst Albert Pang says.
Based on data its sales team generated, Microsoft estimates ERP-on-Windows projects will grow 150% in the current fiscal year compared with last year. "A lot of customers are on older versions of SAP and PeopleSoft, and until they get current, they can't add new modules," says Dennis Oldroyd, a director of Microsoft's Windows server group. "We're finding that a lot of those customers are taking another look at Windows and SQL Server."