Sunrise Computer Systems has delivered what it claims is the first Australian Windows 2000 deployment with a multimillion dollar rapid deployment of an enterprise-wide system for a Brisbane school.
The Microsoft solution partner rolled out the initiative for St Peters Lutheran College over seven months using Microsoft's infrastructure deployment solutions framework after initially going in to do a simple notebook project.
Instead, Sunrise ended up consolidating a plethora of desktop and server technology under the Windows 2000 umbrella.
'They had Windows 95, Windows NT and Apple on the desktop as well as NT server, Novell, Apple, AIX and AS/400 on the server side of things,' said Scott Gosling, project manager for Sunrise.
Sunrise deployed both Windows 2000 Server and Professional, Microsoft Exchange 5.5, SQL 7.0, SMS2.0, IIS 5.0 and Proxy Server 2.0. Office 2000 Premium was installed on all the desktops and existing printers were upgraded to firewall-protected network printers.
Gosling believes this is the biggest commercial implementation of Windows 2000 in Australia, worth between $1 million and $2 million.
'This is a 600-seat, six-server rollout and one of the few commercial projects we have seen in Australia. Everyone was so busy with Y2K and will be busy with GST, that for the most part, Windows 2000 projects will only be pilot programs or some directory planning,' explained Phil Howson, managing director of Sunrise.
Gosling also believes that the cost of rolling out Windows 2000 will be about 10 to 20 per cent more on the first few projects as integrators get used to the 'sea change' of Windows 2000.
'Everyone knows NT because everyone has done it so many times. This is such a sea change that costs in the design stage will initially be higher.'
Gosling attributes the school's early adoption of Windows 2000 in this environment to its determination to create a standard operating environment.
'They'd already decided to consolidate their system and had started to commit to the Microsoft path. In August the decision came down to whether they wanted Windows NT or Windows 2000. Windows 2000 had a lot of new functionality that suited the school, such as the Active Directory and Group Policy that allows them to centralise and manage their system better, as well as a lower TCO,' said Gosling, who will teach the school how to use the system effectively.
Caution in terms of the system's availability and stability in the face of Microsoft's notorious delays and bugs was alleviated by Sunrise through its own use of the product and its close relationship with Microsoft.
'There was an inherent risk that Microsoft wouldn't ship on time and we wouldn't have a product to deploy. But we worked very closely with the Brisbane office and as solution providers felt confident of our position. We've also been using Windows 2000 for some time so were well placed to talk to the school about its stability,' said Gosling.
And 'killer applications' such as Microsoft's Exchange 2000 server that can only run on Windows 2000 will also encourage the early take up of the OS, despite the challenges, said Gosling.
The school's decision to roll out Windows 2000 was also ratified by its easy implementation, according to Gosling.
'We had to do the implementation in a pretty tight timeframe and for infrastructure deployment Windows 2000 server is great. With NT 4.0 you had to make sure you had the same controllers and network cards. If you didn't it failed. Windows 2000 is plug and play. St Peters is using five variants of hardware on the desktop,' said Gosling.