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Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Gregg Hinchman

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Posted: 5 Dec 2006
 

Absolute Truth and GroupWise

"Do not be bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology ... All systems of thought are guiding means, not absolute truth." Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Monk

Isn't this the case for Best Practices for GroupWise? You often hear the term "Best Practice" and assume that means doing something a specific way every time, because sources tell you it's correct. But really, it's about doing something that works right for your organization and your GroupWise system, even if it goes against the status quo.

In many articles and presentations I have provided concepts and Best Practices, only to have people either agree or disagree with me. And my response has always been the same - "Your mileage may vary." Do what is right and what works for your system.

Also, many times the ideas I present are geared around the "Ferrari" approach or design to a GroupWise system not the "Honda Civic" design. What does this mean? It means that I often provide the largest, best, strongest, and most perfect design that you can build. But it does not mean you must build it that way. Let's look at an example.

Suppose your organization has 100 users, one post office and one domain, all running on one server. Then you read one of my articles that tells the Best Practice tale of one gateway per domain, and one primary domain with no post offices, all on many servers. Should you redesign your entire GroupWise system to match this Best Practice? Of course not!

What you should do is evaluate your design and read into the "spirit" of the principles I presented in the article and see how you can strengthen your system. Maybe all you need to do is add one domain and place all gateways under it. Or, maybe you have the budget for more servers or a cluster; then you should build it if the business need is there.

As a consultant, I evaluate each customers GroupWise system individually. I look at the customer's usage or needs, and I listen to their concerns and budget/management constraints. Then, and only then, do I apply Best Practices to my recommendations for their GroupWise system. But I do more than just give them a bare minimum - I give them the "Ferrari" as well as the "Civic." Why? Because I realize that today they may only have funds or desire for the "Civic," but they will want a path to guide them for the future growth of their GroupWise system. This saves them money, because they do not have to hire a consultant later to provide a whole new set of guidelines and recommendations for their system. They simply return to the report I gave them, assuming their needs are the same or similar, and start building for growth.

Where Did I Leave Off?

Since I last wrote an article for Cool Solutions, I have been coast-to-coast in person and remotely. I have done GroupWise audits, built clusters, clustered GroupWise (surprise, surprise), consolidated GroupWise systems (moving over 10,000 mailboxes) into new designs, and implemented Enterprise Archiving solutions. It's likely these projects will help the creative juices flow and new articles will abound.

I also presented at the GroupWise Advisor Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. While there, I assisted in the first ever GroupWise Users Group - North America (GUG-NA) kickoff with Andreas Back, Willem Bagchus, and Danita Zanre, with special guest Erno De Korte. This chapter of GroupWiseR is hoping to spawn GroupWise User Groups nationally in the USA and Canada. It's a slow progress, but it is a start for GroupWise in North America. Keep your eyes peeled for GroupWiseR in North America.

Somewhere between the projects and the presentations I also found time to write two articles for GroupWise Advisor magazine, and I wrote up several presentation ideas for Brainshare 2007. Remember, Brainshare 2007 it is the premier Novell conference! Not to mention, it's a lot of fun and a great place to "geek out."

Lest you think I have little social life (you may be correct), I did find some time to do home repairs, pet the cats (I have two), and travel to Thailand for a bit of a vacation (more on this in future articles). But mostly I spent time visiting with friends.

Summary

So what is the purpose of this article? Glad you asked. It's actually a self-serving article to let you know I am back, to let you know what was happening with GroupWise in the past few months since I last wrote an article, and - most importantly - to have you send me ideas for articles I can write in 2007. I like to feel I am in tune with the GroupWise "Force," preferably the light side, though I can sense the dark side sometimes. But what I have come to realize is that I need your help.

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to write an article, even a short one. First I have to come up with an idea, something that you the reader want to know about. Then I have to validate the idea to see if it's worth writing about and has value. Often times I have to build examples, which require screenshots or Visio drawings. Then I have to actually sit down and write something - this is the most difficult part. I require stimulation to get the creative juices flowing; often that's coffee and some Counting Crows music. So any ideas will help me help you, the reader.

Please email me at: Gregg@HinchmanConsulting.com with your ideas, topics and wonderings for future articles.

OK, so that sums up this short update. Stay tuned for 2007!


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