TrustPower gets W2K, MS registry

Electricity retailer and generator TrustPower is undertaking a major infrastructure upgrade from Windows NT to 2000, and installing Microsoft's Active Directory.

Electricity retailer and generator TrustPower is undertaking a major infrastructure upgrade from Windows NT to 2000, and installing Microsoft’s Active Directory.

TrustPower IT manager Steve Appleford says installing the directory will provide the framework for greatly increased productivity and reduced total cost of ownership across the company’s Windows networks, through easier upgrades.

“We’re looking at using LDAP to get some centralised management. It will give us a central information repository in terms of user details which we’ll be able to access and use for other things.”

Upgrading to Windows 2000 is the major driver for going to Active Directory. Appleford expects administrative gains. “At the moment NT 4 admin, so we’ll be able to merge the two.”

The Tauranga-based power company has outsourced the implementation plus the upgrade of Exchange to Auckland-based Axon in a 12-month contract. The implementation and overall infrastructure upgrade is expected to take eight to 10 weeks.

Appleford says TrustPower runs a small, highly expert in-house team that provides operations support and development. “We don’t have the capacity or expertise when significant desktop or server projects arise, or when there are complex issues around networks and firewalls,” he says.

Axon will use AME (advanced managed environment), a toolset developed by Axon spin-off AME Software, to ease implementation of Active Directory across TrustPower’s 360 workstations.

Appleford says with Microsoft pushing Software Assurance, AME’s ability to provide routines and disciplines in the desktop environment was a major selling point for Axon.

“AME will be invaluable in lowering the costs and risks of operating system upgrades, and to increase upgrade benefits. It will also be a valuable tool for managing workstation configurations. We run a high percentage of ‘fat’ clients, so we need to ensure our people have a robust desktop with minimal support overheads. AME also makes Active Directory easier and faster to configure and operate, so we’ll get benefits earlier and increase our return on investment.”

Axon will also use AME to manage a major upgrade of TrustPower’s local area networks, involving the building and deployment of 30 new highly secure network servers. The Axon help centre will remotely monitor server health, provide week-to-week support and problem management. Axon will also manage all hardware and software procurement, including software licences, servers, PCs and printers.

AME Software general manager Max Wadey says AME has been redeveloped with help from Microsoft to make Active Directory easier and faster to configure and operate. AME asks questions of the person installing the system about the planned environment, and automatically builds the necessary entries, files andlinkages.

Consulting firm Fulton Hogan will also implement Active Directory using AME.

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