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ACME Enterprises Defined

ACME Enterprises is a small business of 500 employees. Hardware and software requirements are modest compared to larger organizations and more complex, geographically spread businesses of a similar size. However, ACME does not represent a typical small business (due to the number of employees), and it would normally be grouped in the medium-sized business range. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, ACME was only one of 8,200 firms of its size in the U.S. in 1999, although there were more than 100,000 enterprises similar to ACME (based in a single physical location).

In addition to the normal business operations such as administration, ACME hosts remote access for traveling sales personnel or telecommuting in its work-share program. It has a sales and marketing division, human resources (personnel and administration) office, and production facilities at a single location.

The design of ACME's computer site will require planning, forecasting, budgeting, research, construction, procurement, testing, and deployment. How quickly computing support is needed may dictate less or more consideration to each stage, but good research and testing can help head off problems. Other important issues in the design are physical security, employee training, and scalability forecasting (in other words, planning for expansion or growth of resource needs). Scalability forecasting can be critical, especially when considering contractual obligations to proprietary software licensing schemes (see the section titled "Windows 2000 Software Requirements").

Some big concerns in a migration from ACME's existing infrastructure include the end result of reliability, initial acquisition and migration costs, system performance following deployment, system security, annual or per-seat total cost of ownership (TCO), and scalability for the immediate or near future.

The basic step in design, especially at this site because there are more than 100 workstations, will involve consultant research and making decisions such as designating or hiring network management personnel. Other decisions will revolve around identifying or categorizing employees according to network access needs, establishing initial peripheral needs (for printing, copying, scanning, faxing, telephony, and so on) and designing an efficient backup strategy with provisions for testing of backed-up data and off-site storage.




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