By Peter Conmy
Yanbu Cement Company upgrades to Windows 2000 at both the server and desktop to enhance the management and security of its IT infrastructure.
Testing has proved vital for Saudi based, Yanbu Cement Company (YCC) in its 250-seat rollout of Windows 2000.
The cement manufacturing company has deployed Microsoft’s next generation operating system at both the server and client level throughout its operation to enhance the management and security of its IT infrastructure.
“We were at a crossroads, where we were changing the entire network design,” Reda Islam, information systems manager, Yanbu Cement Company, told
“The most important elements in the testing were the Arabic integration, management and the security aspects. We had virtually no strong security needs at the beginning, because of the localised system we were running. But when we introduced a company wide system, this changed,” said Islam.
YCC’s testing environment enabled the company to test both the desktop and server versions of Windows 2000 before going ahead with the company wide deployment.
The manufacturer’s IT team extensively tested the management features in the Server Edition, in particular the functionality of the Active Directory.
“We have two separate testing procedures; one for the servers and the other for the Professional [at the desktop],” said Islam. “For the Server version we were very interested in testing the management technologies.”
Perhaps, as important as the testing of the software, the company’s beta environment proved to be a vital training ground, enabling YCC to get its technical people up to speed on W2K.
“Being involved with the beta testing for around six months gave us the chance to start playing with Windows 2000,” said Islam.
The company also sent several people for training in Saudi on the operating system’s more advanced management and security features. However, YCC discovered difficulties in finding training courses with the necessary technical depth. This proved to be a “big challenge,” said Islam.
“The only drawback is that we haven’t seen in Jeddah, or in Saudi in general, more technical course[s]. We have been contacted by so many of their third party training programmes and we have attended a couple, but it really doesn’t touch the core of [the] improved security of Windows 2000,” said Islam.
To supplement the training requirements of the IT department Yanbu Cement was forced to search the Web to find the necessary training materials, and use its testing environment for a lot of self training.
Training has continued in the testing environment to build up the skills of end user’s actually using the software. We had to rely quite a lot on self training,” said Islam. “We have a small network for testing the software, but we also trained [users] in the same environment.”
Yanbu were able to turn to their local partner and Microsoft’s local operation for help with other training issues.
Alongside the training issues involved with a large rollout of Windows 2000, YCC also realised that it had to upgrade the memory of their desktops — all of which were above Pentium II 300 MHz — if they were to get the best out of Professional Edition.
The company had tried to rollout the OS at the desktop, which were running Oracle-based ERP applications. However, the results were a “disappointment,” with 64 M/bytes of RAM and the company had to upgrade to 128 M/bytes.
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