When the LIS/ACU Unified desktop project was proposed ACU and LIS were separate departments, so the idea of taking some time to produce a new unified desktop was probably OK.
Now, however, a few things have changed. LIS and ACU have merged (well as of the end of Sept) and has already hit issues – the new Director has an ACU desktop so couldn’t access his predecessor’s files (on the LIS systems) and cannot share calendars with the other members of his management team. Also, Health Science have been merged into a bigger School with other departments who have LIS managed desktops – so again there are some immediate co-working issues.
So how do we fix these issues? Firstly things can be simplified by migrating all the users to a single Exchange system, whether this be the existing LIS 2003 setup or a new 2010 installation, it probably doesn’t matter, though a solution which reduces the number of changes end users see has got to help.
Secondly, there’s the shared storage issues – clearly we could try and expose each set of shared files to each of the other sets of users, or we could try and migrate data which needs to be shared to a common platform. Options available would include:
- Adding users and permissions to the Windows/Novell file systems to allow access and then publishing them – IDM could clearly help with this, but either the Novell client would need to be rolled out or the Netware volumes published as CIFS/Samba shares would be needed.
- Using SharePoint – good but not suitable for all types of files – e.g. media and databases – if these aren’t required, then this is the natural way forward.
- Picking one new shared drive solution – and migrating the shared files to that location.
The most manageable solutions are 2 and 3 – it’s just a matter of picking the correct platform and location. I would say that pushing solution 2 is the best start and then rolling out a Novell client for those needing anything else – we could turn on CIFS shares for Novell Servers, to remove the need for the client, but this is technology we’ve no previous experience of and Novell file services is something we what to retire in the future.
A further step could be a help if done with some speed, and that’s to migrate all users to the LIS desktop. LIS have done this job before when the Exchange 5.5. to 2003 migration occurred. So all users would be using the same systems which would help I.T. Support no end and free up support staff time for other projects. It may also be possible to merge the Staff and Student Novell Netware trees to further consolidate and simplify the environment. These steps would then leave the Unified Desktop Project a simpler set-up from which to migrate.
Then there’s the radical solution – ignore the complex legacy environment and create a brand new Domain with it’s own file/print/email solution and migrate all the LIS/ACU/Humanities users to this domain with Windows 7, Office 2010 etc. Hmm – time for another blog entry!?