Spent the last 2 days in the capital city meeting with the integrators of our use network upgrade. They set forth a very aggressive and ambitious upgrade schedule...which means my life, as we know it, will cease to exist for several months. Well, it might not be that bad...but it's going to be a very busy time, that's for sure. Lots of meetings and reports...that kind of stuff.
As a refresher, we are moving 6 offices and 420 users from an NDS (Novell) environment to an AD (Active Directory, aka Microsoft) environment. This upgrade will include a change from Corel's WordPerfect to Microsoft Word...which might not seem like a big deal -- but it is. It's a huge deal for people who have spent the last 2 decades loving WordPerfect and knowing every aspect of the software. Even the people pushing the change readily admit that WordPerfect is a superior program...it just can't compete with the beast known as Microsoft.
Anyway...the upgrade will also include a overhaul of our DMS (Document Management System), which shouldn't be too major. Except that we are consolidating 6 DMS servers to 2...which has the potential to put additional stress on our WAN (Wide Area Network). We have been assured that the new DMS handles requests in a way that would be burdensome to our WAN speeds...I remain a bit skeptical but I will wait to see.
Going from Groupwise to Exchange will also be a test of patience. Migrating over existing mail could be a bit stressful considering some users have archived mailboxes of over 10GB currently in Groupwise. To make the move, that will have to be unarchived, converted and then the user can choose to either: 1) clean up their e-mail or 2) just archive it again. I'm guessing the latter.
Training will take weeks on the new system. Obviously, it is necessary. Most end-users will go through 4 full days of training (broken down to 3 full days and 2-half days). Other users can choose between a basic 1-day training or a more advanced 2-day training. Training will be vital to making this project work -- if no one can use the new system, what's the point?
Anyway, the first move actually starts tomorrow. We have to get every machine up to 2-GB of RAM which means we literally have to touch 420 computers and physically install the RAM. So, I'm traveling out Martinsburg way (with 2 other people) tomorrow evening to get the first office down. After seeing how long that takes, we'll evaluate how many people we need to complete the task the week of July 8th. After that, switches will be upgraded and we go from there. Should be an amazing project that will last, at a minimum, 4-months. Training and implementation could actually spread over 34-weeks barring major setbacks.
So, that's what I've been working on. I'm apprehensive and excited at the same time...will be a life-altering experience regardless. I'll keep everyone informed as it moves on...until then, I'm installing RAM!!!