Windowsnt Proposal Essay Research Paper Migration to

Windowsnt Proposal Essay, Research Paper

Migration to Windows NT Proposal Plan

Karl Muller

Louis Murchison

Meena Naik

John Schmid

University of Phoenix

Migration to Windows NT Proposal Plan

As technology advances so should the products and services provided by companies. In every industry, technology is becoming the key success factor to growth and profit. The ability to communicate with people all around the world has created a new marketplace for business. In order to remain competitive, it is important for companies to utilize the most current technology. At ABC Inc., the use of the latest technological tools allows the company to provide first-rate, quality architectural engineering services to its clients. As part of the company’s strategic goal to increase profits and clients, the board of directors established an information technology steering committee to look at how the company could improve its’ technology. The committee was tasked to make sure the company had the latest available industry computer tools and to make sure all employees were uniform in terms of the technology. One of the most important findings of the committee’s research was the fact that the company and its branches were using varying types of software and hardware systems. The findings also showed that this lack of uniformity caused numerous communication problems not only with the branches and corporate offices, but also the clientele. These findings were reported to senior management. Based on the findings, recently, senior management made the decision to ensure all employees, branch offices and corporate office were working on the same software and hardware systems. Management decided to move the entire company to a Windows NT environment, in order to improve productivity, to create uniformity, to create a more functional network infrastructure and to develop an Intranet and Internet web sites. The Information Technology department (referred to as the “Team”) was asked to take a look at the pros and cons of moving to Windows. The Team has prepared the following report based on its research efforts.

Business Requirement(s)

ABC Inc. is a progressive company based in San Diego, California. Since 1980, the company has offered a full range of architectural engineering services, from planning and analysis to design and implementation. We currently employ over 50 people in our home and branch offices that include Las Vegas and San Francisco. Like many companies that implemented computer networks in the 1980s, ABC’s network evolved over the years into a diversified arrangement of machines. These machines included various UNIX servers and workstations and PCs running DOS and Windows 3.1. “The multitude of operating systems and various hardware platforms caused several problems for the IS department, including overlapping administrative and support tasks for different environments, needing to hire specialists for each client/server platform, and having to bolt on software so PCs could access data on the servers. The clients also suffered various problems because of conflicts among different protocol stacks and lack of available memory resulting from terminate-and-stay-resident (TSR) programs loaded in conventional memory.” [Might be a good one to use as our reason why we decided to migrate - what do you guys think?]

Application(s) to be supported

ABC’s design and construction drawings are created with AutoCAD 14 and nearly all structural calculations are produced with the aid of the computer. Employees have access to software best suited to architectural engineering including:

- AutoCAD with SoftDesk Structural Designer

- Microsoft Windows with Microsoft Word and Excel

- Structural Engineering Software (SAP90, ETABS, SAFE, RISA-2D and RISA-3D)

- Project Management Software (Microsoft Project)

- Database Management Software (FileMaker and Paradox)

- Many single purpose Spreadsheets for Structural Analysis and Component Design.”

ABC Inc. employs “a full-time Network Administrator, a full-time Software Development/Support Manager and a full-time Network Support Technician in our home office and several part-time techs in each branch office to maintain the network and install new equipment. This network staff is available to organize, set up, and install a network for our clients and business partners and make recommendations on hardware and software that would best meet particular needs.” [Again, please make changes to suit a company with 50 employees. I found this info at an actual arch/eng firm's site - good example]

Scale (number of users/transactions)

The 50 employees of ABC Inc. provide various architectural and engineering services to federal and commercial customers. The employees include architects, engineers, CAD specialists, human resources, administrative, reproduction specialists, information technology personnel, and accounting and business analysts. The corporate staff in located in San Diego as are a portion of the technical personnel. The rest of the employees are located at the branch offices in Las Vegas and San Francisco.

There are numerous transactions occurring throughout the workday between the corporate and branch offices. The company needs to have an information technology infrastructure that can provide strong, productivity capabilities. The company cannot afford to have a computer system which continually break downs and/or needs continuous upgrading. [If you can come up with other examples of transactions our company would perform that would help]

There are some important needs of the company, which the technical infrastructure should be capable of performing.

Other Needs

Any computer hardware and software chosen by ABC Inc. has to have the capability to meet the needs of the company. There are several specific concerns that need to be addressed by the Team.

Distributed Access

The first area of concern is the system’s ability to handle distributed access. Since the company has branches in other locations, it important to have an operating system capable of handling not only local area networks (LANs), but also wide area networks (WANs).

Security Issues

Another major area of concern is the issue of security. ABC has an Intranet and Internet web sites which require security measures be in place.

a) Develop Security Plan [Karl's paper]

b) NT Security Overview [Karl's paper]

“A comprehensive security plan includes measures to safeguard a company’s valuable computing assets. These assets include hardware, software, data, communication lines and networks. Hardware should be physically secured. Effective management of user IDs, passwords, user and group accounts, backups and monitoring of applications can help to ensure data and software integrity. Firewalls and proxy servers can help secure data transmissions across networks. The Windows NT operating system provides a wide set of tools designed to secure standalone and connected computing environments furthermore, it is designed to work with a variety of network operating systems. This level of flexibility contributes to Windows NT’s continued popularity.” [from Karl's paper]


Training Policy [Meena's paper]

The task of creating and implementing a training policy was assigned to both the Human Resources and Information Technology personnel. The team had to create a training plan, not only regarding Windows NT, but also a comprehensive training program for the company.

NT Training [Meena's paper]

There are numerous sources of training for Windows products. Training is available from the traditional classroom environment to the modern day computer based training. For its need, ABC chose to utilize computer-based and video-based training in addition to other online methods. The reason the company chose these methods was due primarily to cost. Also, the technology-based learning modes reduced the time employees would have to spend away from work. This also helps reduce administrative overhead that is what training is usually charged to.

Selection Criteria

The Information Technology had a list of selection criteria upon which was based the decision to move to Windows NT platform. The following criteria were used to make the choice between UNIX and Windows:

a) Application availability

b) Costs

c) Support and Maintenance

d) Ease of Use

e) Interoperability/Compatibility

f) Portability

By year 2002, the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) expect over 95 percent of desktop applications to be Windows-based.

The initial costs involved with migrating to Windows NT will be lower than those related to use of UNIX.

Compatibility of the chosen operating system with existing system is crucial. Although the company expects to eventual stop using UNIX, at the present time that is not feasible. Therefore, the chosen operating system has to be able to handle applications, data, etc. created in other formats (platforms).

“It is hard to discuss Interoperability computing without talking about co-existence with UNIX. The high degree of interoperability of the Microsoft Windows NT server operation system allows existing systems to run undisturbed as the new capabilities offered by the Windows NT family of network and workstation products are rolled into the enterprise computing environment. Because UNIX interoperability is such a huge issue in the potential Windows NT marketplace, Microsoft has developed a wide variety of specific technologies, support tools, and solution providers who are in the business of making this transition successful.” [John's]

This is an important selection criterion because ease of use will help make the transition be a lot less cumbersome. UNIX is a command-based system that requires users to remember commands. Windows has a user-friendly graphical interface based on icons.

NT vs. UNIX?

Although the Team had decided to maintain some of its UNIX applications, the decision of which operating system – Windows NT or UNIX – to utilize across the board was of major importance. Since the company decided to migrate to using one operating system, there were issues that will play a role in determining whether to use Windows NT or UNIX as the company’s operating system. One of the first issues was the operating system would provide easy access and manageability. The system should support the company’s tolls of the engineering trade as well as enhance the company’s business applications. Stable communication between all the company’s offices and clients would also be a high priority.

The Team conduct benchmark tests on various LAN and mainframe configurations to determine which OS to upgrade the now cumbersome and outdated system. [could flow into John's paper].

The decision to go with Windows NT was based on several reasons. First, Windows NT has the robustness and ease of use sought for by the company. This would make the transition from DOS-based applications much smoother. “Besides the familiar Windows interface, Windows NT can run all popular Windows applications, including Office, the popular productivity suite of applications.”

Manageability was another area in which NT proved to be more efficient. NT allows the system administrators to oversee a network that is not a jumble of differing hardware characteristics. The Windows NT platform supports a vast array of hardware and software configurations aided by a suite of tools to support desktop and network management. The User Manager and Server Manager allows the system administrators to centrally manage all user accounts and servers from one location (San Diego). On the other hand, with a UNIX network, it would necessitate a system administrator be located at the branch locations to manage the local network due to the disparity in equipment. This problem would cause headaches when one network was not in synch with the others. Centralized manageability would increase the stability of the network system.

Although Windows NT will be the operating system of choice, some of the company’s UNIX system will have to be retained. The UNIX servers provide high-end graphics and geometric functionality so necessary in the architectural engineering field. However, once Windows NT 5.0 arrives with its 64-bit processor, the company will migrate its graphic functions to the NT format. Integrating the UNIX servers into the Windows NT system will be accomplished by using the public domain software known as Samba. Samba allows a UNXI server to “?behave similarly to a Windows-based server?” allowing clients to access and share Unix applications seamlessly via NT.

Communication within our network has much improved with Windows NT. We are now capable of sharing files and data between all offices. Our Fast Ethernet Intranet provides speedy and stable communication transport.

Justification {Explain and justify the selected operating system}

1. “Benefits of Migrating to Windows NT” Feb 1998, p. 186, Brian Honan




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