All Out to Win 2k: One IT Manager's Story

FRAMINGHAM (03/27/2000) - Information technology manager John Kronick has added a Windows 2000 migration to an already full plate at his company, Norwalk, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma LP.

The pharmaceuticals firm's plans include securing a network that stretches across 25 sites, localizing content for overseas operations and building novice-proof virtual private networks (VPN) for satellite facilities.

Computerworld's Cynthia Morgan spoke with Kronick about how his team will face the next 18 months' worth of challenges.

CW: How big is the infrastructure your team supports?

Kronick: We're running 3,400 users over 25 sites around the world. We're going into countries that can't really support a regular dial-up connection, let alone something faster, and we can't always have trained support staff available.

We use VPNs in many cases, both for the savings it gives us in terms of equipment and connection charges and because with a VPN, we can do all the configuring and take care of most of the supportissues from our end.

CW: That frankly sounds like a support nightmare.

Kronick: It's [pause] interesting at times. [Chuckles.] We won't move to Windows 2000 as fast as we'd like, but it's not justa compatibility issue. . .

. This just isn't the year for Windows 2000 because nobody wants to take the risks of early adoption. Right now, there are too many bugs and too few people who can do the migrations.

The Windows 2000 migration will take 80 to 125 information technology workers, augmented with a lot of consultants. We're going to use consultants in many cases because we simply can't find people who've completed the training we need in Windows 2000.

CW: Then when will you migrate?

Kronick: We're planning a full infrastructure rollout of Windows 2000 by Q1 next year. That'll move 200 to 300 servers. Windows 2000 certainly will let you run a hybrid, heterogeneous network, but you losea lot of the reasons you're migrating in the first place. We're not opting to do that. When we roll out Windows 2000 on the servers, it'll also go on all the clients.

The operating system on the clients isn't as important asit once was, frankly.

A lot of our most important applications now are based in Oracle or the Web, so compatibility with a new operating system isn't something you necessarily have to worry about for your frontline apps. Ironically, it's the standard office software that will be more of a problem.

One tip I can give anyone trying to support a migration to Windows 2000: Don't upgrade. Wipe out the system and start clean. It makes a real difference.

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