Army will model systems migration on effort by U.S. Forces Korea

Five steps for enterprise migration

Army Maj. Earl Robinson, assistant product manager for the Microsoft migration for U.S. Forces Korea, offered five tips for the seamless completion of such a project:

1. Senior leadership is crucial. 'In Korea, there's one chief and one boss. That made the project more prone to being successful.'

2. Get users to buy into the project. 'They must integrate everyone early on in the project.'

3. Plan the migration. The blueprint must provide details all the way down to the level of information management officers. 'There is a checklist of industry best practices validated by the program manager. The only thing they have to do is follow those checklists.' During the planning phase, an installation should gauge the full scope of the work and the requirements.

4. Develop a mini-pilot. The migration must be tested on a very small sample of users that officials then analyze for lessons applicable to a larger pilot.

5. Ensure that officials are trained. Information management officers must complete their training at least 30 days before the start of the migration.

Many Army commands have struggled to update their desktop computers with the latest Microsoft Windows products. And many failed to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for migration to the newest versions.

But U.S. Forces Korea, a joint command of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, was able to migrate seamlessly. Last spring, the command began moving more than 18,000 workstations from Microsoft NT Server to Active Directory and from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003. And it completed the task in less than four months for less than $1 million.

The Army moved from NT to Active Directory to improve security and reduce the risk of vulnerabilities, officials said.

Senior leaders have held out the migration, which ended in August, as an example other Army installations should follow. The command supports the United Nations and Republic of Korea in the defense of the country against North Korea.

Army Maj. Earl Robinson, assistant product manager for the migration in Korea, said he is working with Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Bragg, N.C., as well as several other installations to help them mirror Korea's success.

'The rapid migration enabled USFK to not only meet the migration directive in advance of the deadline, but become the first warfighter division to comply,' said Col. Ronald M. Bouchard, executive officer to the commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

The key to the command's success was support from both local management and senior leadership, said Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, the Army's CIO.

'Migration to Active Directory and Exchange 2003 in USFK was successful and cost effective because it was managed by the operational command and had the engagement and support of senior leaders,' Boutelle said.

The Defense Communications and Army Switched Systems' Enterprise Business Integration Center, based at Fort Monmouth, N.J., did the work for the command, migrating 23,000 user accounts, mailboxes and more than 18,000 end-user systems.

The Fort Monmouth organization awarded an $850,000 migration contract to Internosis of Greenbelt, Md.

Internosis used the Reporter tool from Quest Software to assess the work and Quest's Active Role software to manage various levels of controls throughout the service.

Don Tarkenton, federal account manager for Quest, said the software let users continue to do their everyday jobs while IT workers conducted the migration.

'You have to be able to cut people over without disrupting their mission,' he said.


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