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First Things First

After determining your technical and business requirements, the first thing you need to do is select the appropriate company to perform your operating system deployment. When evaluating potential partners for outsourcing your Windows 2000 deployment, consider carefully the expertise that the company brings to the project.

You need to be especially careful when selecting a vendor for Windows 2000 deployment because with Windows 2000 Microsoft has introduced many new technologies that have been unfamiliar in the Microsoft networking arena. Current MCSEs who are trained in Windows NT version 4 or Microsoft operating system products other than Windows 2000 may not necessarily have hands-on expertise with these technologies. Consider a vendor with engineers who are certified in multiple operating systems.

I'll no doubt be chastised for recommending this, but you may want to consider a vendor that has worked for the past few years with Novell's NDS, as these engineers will likely have more hands-on experience with Directory Services Architecture. Novell CNEs who have years of experience with NDS and have also cross-trained in Windows 2000 should have the required expertise to successfully deploy Microsoft's Active Directory.

You'll also want to consider vendors that have engineers with UNIX systems experience, as these engineers will possibly have experience with the security technology, such as Kerberos and IPSec, that Microsoft has introduced to Windows 2000.

A company whose single focus has been Microsoft products and whose staff consists primarily of NT 4 certified MCSEs will probably be your last choice for a wide-scale Windows 2000 deployment, unless those engineers have had extensive training with Windows 2000 and have participated in a number of Windows 2000 deployments.

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