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Consultant's Corner: Crazy from the GroupWise Heat

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Gregg Hinchman

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Posted: 13 Jun 2006
 

"Under the anvil of the sun ..." - Things are definitely heating up this summer. GroupWise is white-hot, as organizations are jockeying to get their projects started and make GroupWise "better than it was, better, faster, stronger" (6 Million Dollar Man theme - sorry, I just couldn't resist.) This time around I thought I would take a moment for a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to fill you in on the GroupWise activities of the summer and to give you a bit of an insider view into the life of a consultant.

A consultant leads a strange lifestyle, and I am no different. Despite the glamour of travel every week, here's the "other" side:

  • Forgetting your hotel room number (which happens more often then you might imagine)
  • Long flight delays
  • 4-5 hours average sleep per day
  • Getting lost trying to find the customer's site
  • Eating the same old restaurant food

Being a GroupWise consultant has its rewards.

GroupWise Projects

After a successful Brainshare where I presented on various topics, spoke with very enthused GroupWise folk, and enjoyed all things Novell - I sensed a huge lull in consulting in general. This allowed me the opportunity I previously wrote about - a trip to Thailand.

Side note: By the way, did you know they are running out of yellow shirts in Thailand in June? This June marks a month of celebration "honoring the country's beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne ..."

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/06/05/thailand.yellow.ap/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Now that I am back from Thailand, and summer is upon us, organizations have their budget dollars in order and their projects picked - and they are in need of a consultant's help to supplement their staff. As you are aware, most organizations are short on IT talent, and in the GroupWise space this is very true. As more and more shops run GroupWise they need more resources to help do the projects while the administrators handle the day-to-day items.

Imagine trying to build a brand new cluster and redesign GroupWise while trying to handle the daily routines. I see it all the time, though. These days, administrators have what I have labeled A.D.D. I.T. (Attention Deficit Disorder Information Technology). Basically, this means they have too many tasks and too little time to focus on any of them. This is where "sweet and wonderful" consultants come into play. This summer I have spoken with organizations that have the following projects on their plate:

* GroupWise Upgrades: Amazingly, some organizations still have GroupWise 5.2 and 5.5. Thankfully, they are considering an upgrade to GroupWise 7. And, of course, many are anxiously awaiting the release of GroupWise 7 Service Pack 1.

* Consolidations: Upgrades usually lead to redesigns. Many organizations are collapsing their "old-style" remote-office-design GroupWise systems into new centralized GroupWise systems. This eases the administration and makes planning for an enterprise-wide disaster recovery simpler, since the entire system is in one or two data centers.

* Clusters: Consolidated GroupWise systems end up running on clusters. Successful clustering requires well-thought, well-documented planning. The same goes for clustering GroupWise. As you know, I wrote the book on clustering GroupWise. This has given me a great opportunity to build some very large clusters, something I thoroughly enjoy. Lest I forget, many organizations are also going head first into Business Continuance planning for GroupWise with Novell's Business Continuity Clusters (BCC). For me, building BCC for GroupWise is sheer joy.

* GroupWise Audits: Before I ever touch an organizations GroupWise system I always perform an audit, either a light one or a full one, depending upon the project. Organizations quite often call me just for an audit so they can make sure their GroupWise system is up to speed, or, if they are having problems.

Of course, the larger projects often entail a combination of all four of the above items. For example, an audit may be needed to detail the issues that need to be fixed before a consolidation onto a cluster, along with an upgrade to GroupWise 7 Service Pack 1.

Service Pack 1

GroupWise Service Pack 1 will be released this summer - mid-to-late June is the latest rumor. It's been long awaited and much anticipated, mainly because many organizations have rules about upgrading to "dot zero" products. Frankly, the GroupWise 7 client aside, I have done many upgrades and fresh installations since the week of its release and customers are happy. Now there are quite a few bugs in the client - but hey - that user interface change was major, and I definitely loved it.

Advisor Summit

GroupWise Advisor Summit rounds out the summer in Phoenix, Arizona - in August, talk about HOT! This year I have the distinct pleasure of delivering four presentations. Of course this also creates a workload for me as well. In order to provide strong technical content for attendees I have to dig deep into my knowledgebase and present the most current topics. Then somehow I have to write the presentations. If only I had a clone! Anyway, if you have not attended GroupWise Advisor Summit I highly recommend it. In fact, if you do sign up, type "Gregg discount" in the comment field and you will get $100 off the fee. Go to:
http://advisorevents.com/cnv0608p.nsf/w/main
and click Register Now. Where else but GroupWise Advisor Summit can you have all the names in GroupWise right there cornered and ready to help you out?

Figure 1: Mid-Day Sun over Phuket, Thailand (color modified for artistic reasons)

GroupWiseR North America

Lest I forget, the ever popular GroupWise User group from Europe and all points "global" will be coming to North America this summer! (http://www.groupwiser.net) That's right, there will be a GroupWiseR North America. A maiden voyage "Kick Off" event will be held at GroupWise Advisor Summit in Phoenix. If you are planning on attending GroupWise Advisor Summit, do drop by http://www.groupwiser.net/na/kickoff and register for this exclusive event for GroupWiseR members. And if you are not a GroupWiseR member yet - register to become one!

Summary

WHEW! I am just about worn out writing all the activities down. As you can see it will be a crazy, hazy, busy few months of summer. Hopefully you are ahead of the game with your budget and resource cups running over. Pardon my indulgence in this article, but I am just so excited about the GroupWise potential this summer that I had to share it. One thing is for sure, when it rains it pours - so sit back and enjoy the "Rain in the Summertime."

As always, I can be reached at: Gregg@HinchmanConsulting.com , if you have any comments, article ideas or just want to help a quirky consultant support his GroupWise addiction.


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