Dunedin City Council is undertaking trials of Windows 2000 and next year will install XP on its desktops and laptops.
The council is in the process of “decommissioning” its Novell server from its core infrastructure, though it will still use Novell at its remote offices. In the coming months, Harte says, the council’s several file and print Novell servers will “gradually migrate” to Windows 2000.
The $100,000 upgrade to Windows 2000 for both servers and desktops is needed to handle a new $750,000 document management system, which should be fully operational by next June.
IS manager Mike Harte says one of the council’s core applications is not yet certified to run on Windows XP, and Windows 2000 has been tried and proven in the market as a robust product. But next year there should no issues for XP, he says, and sometime in 2003 “an upgrade” between the two Microsoft systems will occur.
Dunedin City, which has 500 PCs and comes under a government Microsoft volume licensing agreement, has already completed designs for the upgrade and was due to carry out a week-long pilot test of up to 30 users of the new infrastructure by the end of September. The week-long test, if successful, will lead to the deployment of Windows 2000 across the whole council before Christmas. The council’s servers will also run Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange 2000. Windows XP will then at some point next year be installed on desktops and laptops.
Once Windows 2000 is installed, Dunedin City can then start rolling out in full the DataWorks document management system. DataWorks is presently being used to capture incoming mail and scan and image back-office files. Harte says the product should begin being deployed by the end of November or early December. With the usual Christmas break and the need to train staff for new paperless business methods, Harte expects it could be June before all of the council’s 600 staff will be fully using the new system.
DataWorks, which is also used by North Shore City Council, will work across many council business units and integrate with its core business systems, Gems from Geac and the ESI geographical information system products.
DataWorks will eventually allow the searching of properties or customer databases. When fully implemented, the system should mean the council ceases to generate physical files as it converts to electronic operations.
Harte says once the project is completed and evaluated, the council will investigate further use of Linux as an operating system. Dunedin City currently uses Linux servers for monitoring its data communications network, but no business applications.
“We will evaluate [Linux] and see where we can go [with it] over the next few years. But for now, the focus is Windows 2000 and then we will have a decent architecture to build on,” Harte says.