Moving users to new locations or PCs is easy in GroupWise, requiring the migration of just the post office to the new client system, Ellsworth says. Upgrading GroupWise itself is a different story. Ironically, Del Webb normally uses Novell's own ZENWorks for Desktops suite to distribute and install application software, but he can't use it for Novell's own e-mail application.
"We tried using ZENWorks for GroupWise, with disastrous results on this last version," Glass says. "We got a barrage of errors at the workstation."
Because of apprehension about Novell's financial prospects and commitment to GroupWise -- the recent outsourcing of support to less-knowledgeable HP technicians was cause for concern -- Del Webb has decided to replace GroupWise with Exchange 2000, starting this spring. Ellsworth says the expected benefit is better integration -- without custom programming -- with back-office systems such as SaleLogix and Lotus cc:Mail, a legacy program GroupWise doesn't support well.
Despite assurances from Microsoft that Exchange won't add to the management burden, Ellsworth and Glass are skeptical. Ellsworth says he wonders if the new version improves on past versions' remote access tools, which, in his experience, have been "just a nightmare."
Prudential's E-Mail Insurance Policy
E-mail management at The Prudential Insurance Company of America in Newark, N.J., tends to center on size issues. The company's Lotus Notes system consists of 250 servers running Domino 5.06 and Notes 5.04a clients on the desktops of 65,000 mostly U.S.-based employees. Four thousand Notes databases hold mission-critical policy documents and workflow applications.
"Managing the size of users' mailboxes -- that's a huge problem," says Michael Boatright, vice president of data center technology and IT operations at Prudential. Prudential employees tend to keep all of their messages because of regulatory requirements. "All of the other Notes companies that we talk to tend to face this problem. [Users] tend to keep their file directory in mail," he says. The practice strains storage systems and puts a premium on efficient backup, which is done with CA's ArcServe software and managed by another Prudential department.
The company struggles to satisfy requests to restore backed-up messages that often come from users who have accidentally deleted them. Restoring the Notes databases with ArcServe isn't always smooth. "There are some cases where we'd like other tools," says Michael Mandelbaum, Prudential's vice president of information systems.