Education replaces 386 and 486 PCs as part of year 2000 effort

Education Department officials plan to have their PC LANs ready for 2000 more than a
year ahead of time.


The department is joining the Air Force and Navy in standardizing on Microsoft Exchange
Server. The Microsoft Outlook 97 mail client will take the place of Lotus cc:Mail as the
department replaces nearly a third of its 6,000 networked PCs.


Education officials found 2,000 desktop PCs whose BIOSes were not ready, according to a
report posted on the Web site at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCIO/it/it9.html.
They decided to replace the 386 and 486 computers, procuring all but 275 of the new PCs
through three-year lease agreements.


Last summer, the department approved a support plan that calls for centralized
technical support for two PC brands: Compaq Computer Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. [GCN, Feb. 23, Page 1].


Compaq’s Deskpro is the standard desktop machine. The base unit is a Deskpro 3200
with 266-MHz Pentium II CPU, 32M RAM, 512K cache and 3.2G hard drive. It has 2M video RAM,
Microsoft Windows 95, Compaq’s Netelligent 10/100-Mbps network card, Orchid SoundWave
sound card and a three-year warranty.


Department offices can lease the base unit without a CD-ROM drive or monitor for $30
per month, $365 per year or $1,094 for three years, according to documents posted on
Education’s intranet. A 24X Compaq CD-ROM drive and a 15-inch monitor from NEC
America Inc. of Melville, N.Y., are optional.


The department buys the Deskpros through a General Services Administration schedule
contract, said Glenn Perry, the contract and purchasing operations director at Education.


The department will donate its old PCs to public schools.


The department approved the move to the Microsoft software last month, said Jeff
Conklin, network architect at the department. Accessibility for disabled users was a key
factor, and the Microsoft messaging products had the best accessibility, Conklin said.


Officials also were concerned that Lotus Development Corp. is planning to eliminate
cc:Mail as a standalone product, he said. Instead, Lotus will fold cc:Mail into Domino
Mail Server.


Education will finish its migration to Exchange by Jan. 31, Conklin said, after a
three-month trial phase starting in October. 

inside gcn

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