Migrating from NetWare to Windows 2000

By Dominique Deckmyn, Computer World |  Operating Systems

However, Wells Fargo had an added incentive to choose Active Directory: The bank had been invited by Microsoft to participate in the Joint Development Program, which gave it the ability to closely follow and influence the development of Windows 2000.

After 18 months, Hall's group has completed its Active Directory migration and rolled it out on 30 hulking eight-CPU servers with 8GB of RAM each -- enough to keep the company's 120,000-user, 1 million-object, 4GB directory in memory. "We went with the best we could have," says a proud Hall. "What's a couple of extra grand in hardware?"

Each of Wells Fargo's lines of business has its own funding and IT plans. "When they're ready, we're ready for them," says Hall. "We're the core infrastructure that everyone can plug into and that we guarantee will be up always."

Migration Checkpoints

* NetWare and NDS are more mature and more reliable than Windows 2000 and Active Directory.

* Users who must upgrade from older IPX-based versions of NetWare have the most compelling case for considering migrating to Windows 2000.

* The fact that new applications such as Exchange 2000 require Active Directory may also influence the decision to migrate to Windows 2000.

* The technical issues surrounding a NetWare-to-Windows 2000 migration are often secondary to overcoming administrators' psychological resistance to leaving the NetWare platform.

* A technical staff well-versed in NetWare's NDS will have an easier time rolling out Active Directory than Windows NT users who are upgrading.

* Differences between the Active Directory and NDS directory tree structure add complexity to the migration of administrative user and file permissions.

* Some thought might be given to running parallel NDS and Active Directory structures rather than engaging in an immediate wholesale migration to Active Directory.

* Third-party migration tools help ease the pain but add to the expense.

Washington state's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) had similar plans, recounts enterprise networking manager Mike Frost. His nine-person team is responsible for running the agency's Microsoft Exchange e-mail system and its new Active Directory service. The department consists of eight administrations and 26 divisions, all of which will eventually plug into the directory.

"We already had a large foundation of Microsoft networking and e-mail, so [Active Directory] was a natural evolution," says Frost. One of the agency's divisions is currently testing a 6,000-user NetWare and GroupWise site. The rest of the agency is mainly using Microsoft Exchange.

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