Dunedin eyes Windows XP

Dunedin City Council is considering becoming a Windows XP guinea pig as it dumps its Novell network.

Dunedin City Council is considering becoming a Windows XP guinea pig as it dumps its Novell network.

IS manager Mike Harte says a choice between XP and Windows 2000 will be made next month as the council upgrades its network to cope with a new document management system.

“Microsoft is keen for us to put in XP but we have to weigh up the robustness and reliability issue. Windows 2000 has been around a long time and the buyers have been convinced. We have to decide whether XP is a risky option or not,” he says.

The council operates under a Microsoft volume licence so there are “no major expenditure issues” with the software purchase. With Computerland as project manager, Harte expects the upgrade and related new servers will cost a further $100,000, on top of the $750,000 DataWorks document management system.

Microsoft New Zealand won’t say how many customers are running Windows XP as their server platform, citing commercial sensitivity. But since the OS’s launch last October, there have been few, if any, high-profile implementations.

Harte says once the council has made a choice, the Win2K/XP rollout will take four to five months. Then DataWorks will be rolled out across the council’s 500 PCs. Once DataWorks goes live, the council will cease to create further physical files as it converts to electronic operations.

Harte says the council’s existing Novell network would not be able to handle the load placed on it by the document management system.

An initial rollout of the document system begins this month within the information management unit, involving nine of the council’s 600 staff, and should be completed by the end of the year.

Harte says the document management system will bring major savings in administration, especially saving staff time in finding information.

It will work across a number of Dunedin City’s business units and integrate with the council’s core business systems — GEMS from Geac Enterprise Solutions and the ESI GIS (geographical information system) products.

“This means I can go into DataWorks, call up a property via a street address or customer name and DataWorks will show me all the documents associated with that property or customer. I can then click up an icon and call up a map of that property. It’s a three-way integration between DataWorks, GEMS and our GIS system,” he says.

DataWorks is also used by the North Shore City Council.

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