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Design and start up a network for you.

When I joined the H&A IT department in 1993, it was with the express task of starting up a network in the Boston office. We had never had one before; all workstations were standalone. Only a few workstations had printers, so anyone else who wanted to print had to put files on disk and walk to one ("sneakernet").

The company had already chosen NetWare 3.11 for the network operating system. My job was to learn how NetWare worked, set up a server, decide what resources would be made available to the users via the network, and then incorporate all the workstations and staff into the network. This was officially my task, but David (the other half of the department) became deeply involved in it also, because it's always better to have someone to bounce ideas off.

Learning how NetWare worked, and installing it on a server, was not terribly difficult. David and I attended one NetWare introductory class, but we concluded that it would be much more efficient (not to mention cost-effective) to learn it on our own, from books, which is what we did.

Once we had a server, we had to make many decisions about how to set it up, and what resources the network would offer to users. We knew these decisions would have long-lasting impact. The structure we designed is still in use today, as are most of the resources we put in place (or rather, their upgraded descendents).

Our next task was to network all those standalone workstations and get users onto the network. Over the next six months, we migrated users to the network in small groups (5-10 staff at a time). This was partly because we knew they'd be a bit confused and lost at first, and it didn't seem like a good idea to have the whole office in that state at the same time; and also partly to make sure we would be able to give them plenty of personal attention with any support needs or questions they might have.

Starting up the network was one of the most satisfying things I've done. Overnight, users suddenly entered a world of far greater convenience:

It was very rewarding to make such a tangible improvement in the lives of so many.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa Nelson. Last Modified: 9 March 2002 Back to Top