Summary of My Plan
Backup. A backup schedule must be implemented on each of the servers. Lack of planning or lack of knowledgeit doesn't matter. There are millions of dollars of work just waiting to disappear. An immediate backup of each server is needed. A regular backup schedule must be implemented.
Wiring. Properly install Gigabit Ethernet throughout the office. Each office will have a wall jack; each cube will connect to surface-mounted jacks. A central patch panel and switch for the servers will be installed in the server room.
Move Exchange Server 5.5. Part of the goal is to upgrade to Exchange 2000. When the domains are flattened, Exchange will have to be moved to a central domain. This client desires Outlook Web Access because workers are often on the road or want to check email from home. Once the Windows 2000 domain is created, 5.5 can be upgraded to 2000.
Flatten the domains. The goal of this large project is to deploy Windows 2000 to the servers. Flattening the domains into a single domain will gather all of the resources under one umbrella and allow for an easier transition to Windows 2000. Not all of these servers need to be domain controllers. File and printer servers should be member servers; Exchange should also be a member server.
Windows 2000 Server implementation. This client will be giving up two leased servers and getting two new servers. Once the domains have been consolidated, create the Windows 2000 domain, and upgrade the existing servers to Windows 2000.
Clean up. Install DHCP, convert to NTFS, set policies, allow for roaming profiles, confirm the backup schedule under Windows 2000, install service packs, and troubleshoot.
Deploy Windows 2000 Professional. Using Sysprep and Ghost, deploy an image to the clients on their new workstations.
As you can see, this was no small project, even for what should have been a simple solid LAN. As a technical consultant, a tour of the office can only reveal who likes Dilbert, where the server room is, and sometimes a list of passwords by the coffeemaker. To really educate ourselves about a network's needs, we need to stick our heads above the drop-ceiling, dive into the servers, and document our discoveries.
In the next few articles, I'll share how this project advanced and the adventures I encountered. In the meantime, get out your ladder, and take a peek at your network.