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How Dave Does It: GroupWise Consolidation - End User Impact

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Dave Muldoon

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Posted: 5 Feb 2003
 

This is the third article in this series regarding consolidating your GroupWise system. The first two articles reviewed consolidation project guidelines and the reasons why it should be considered along with general project guidelines that can be used to consolidate a GroupWise system.

In this article I will review potential items that end-users experience during the move of their GroupWise account in a GroupWise Six environment. You should know that, as long as, the server-side agents are running GroupWise Six the impact is far less than that of a GroupWise 5.x environment. I highly recommend the servers be running at least 6.0.1 agents or better. If you're going to undertake this in a GroupWise 5x environment, you'll see additional impacts to the ones I will cover here, such as; shared folders being un-shared, distribution lists and frequent contacts do not update, replying to items sent from the previous Post Office produces an error (D101), signatures could be turned off, etc. From this brief list and with the added efficiency of the GroupWise Six move process, you can see why I strongly believe in being at GroupWise Six before undertaking this process - it benefits everyone (Administrators and end-users). Moving users in GroupWise Six has been drastically improved with the "Live Move" process. The "Live Move" process allows the user data to flow via IP from Post Office, to Post Office, leaving out the Domain transfer steps of the GroupWise 5x environment.

If you're not familiar with the impact of moving users, it might be confusing and sometimes unnerving when receiving a call from a moved user, stating that there seems to be issues that you might not have expected. These things are not actually problems, rather they are things that modify the client settings and the overall account during the move process that make sense to most administrators after reviewing them. Overall the GroupWise move process is fairly straight forward, predictable and reliable. Below are some things that you can watch and prepare your end-users for.

Trash

The Trash within the GroupWise account will be emptied. I recommend having this be a "voluntary" impact, or an impact that you impose to the users. This way your move process can be more efficient, moving only items users want (if you were going to move to a new house, you wouldn't take your trash with you - would you?). In order to accomplish this, you can run a maintenance the evening before, or the evening of the move. NOTE: If you opt for running this on the evening of the move, you will have to wait for the process to complete before moving the users to tale full advantage of the process.

This type of 'voluntary impact" may seem somewhat questionable, but in the end, you're providing a faster and more efficient move of the accounts by not having to move the trash. This reduced impact and downtime really ends up benefiting everyone involved.

Proxy

The proxy settings (for users who add customization) will have to be re-added. This can be a rather complex matrix of understanding, as at times, a user is impacted who is not moved. For example, if a user on Post Office Alpha has assigned proxy rights to a user on Post Office Beta, and the user on Post Office Beta is being moved, the user on Post Office Alpha will have to re-add the proxy settings. Fixing this type of occurrence is most easily accomplished by removing the old entry from the access list and then re-adding the account. After re-adding the account further customization of the proxy settings can be done. NOTE: This is necessary even if the entry appears to be correct.

Resource Object (conference rooms, etc.)

Conference rooms or other resources typically do not get moved until something like a consolidation effort is brought upon the system. In ordinary situations, the resource would have stayed with a location-specific Post Office (in a distributed system it make sense to have your conference rooms and such things located in a Post Office where the resources are). The process that I used to move a resource may not be exactly what Novell recommends, but it worked very well for me for all of the resources that I've moved during my consolidations. I followed this process:

  1. Note the resource name and the owner before moving either object.
  2. Move the owner account to the target Post Office. At this time you will be prompted for assigning the resource to a new owner. Re-assign the resource to an owner that remains on the Post Office (but make note of the new user, in case there are questions later).
  3. Once the original user object has moved, move the Resource to the target Post Office and assign it to the original user that was noted in the first step.


  4. NOTE: Resources that get moved are impacted by all of the items in this article.

Previous Appointments and Message Tracking

After a user account is moved, status tracking for items previously sent (prior to the move), are no longer updated. The status tracking of the appointment items sent prior to the move will no longer be updated. Furthermore, appointments can no longer be retracted from users who have moved. I recommend to users that they review their appointments and determine how important attendance information is. This leaves the judgment up to the end-user; if it is very important, they have the option to delete the meeting and reschedule it after they have moved to the target/new Post Office.

Archive

In my system, users are not forced to archive, and all options regarding archiving for that matter are left up to the user (everything is purged at 90 days via maintenance and users can adjust their accounts to that process). So when moving users, there is a good chance that the archive path gets reset to something other than what the user had configured it as prior to the move (Tools - Options - Environment - File Location). This will cause the user to think that the "archive is gone" because of the move. As the company GroupWise "hero", you can magically get it back for them by asking them to look for the of xxx arc on their local drive or server volumes that they have access to, and re-pointing this path appropriately.

Remote Access

If the user accesses GroupWise remotely, they will need to update the remote store to account for the new Post Office and Domain. If the user connects to the LAN with the same PC, a simple "Hit the Road" will update the remote store with the appropriate information. If the user is accessing from another PC, that does not connect to the LAN, they will have to manually update the information.

Odds-N-Ends

  • It's somewhat rare, but I have seen the GroupWise password become damaged, causing the user to receive an error that states that the user ID cannot be found. This is easily fixed, but making the users aware that this could occur prevents panic if this does happen.


  • Some of the user preferences may be reset. For example return notifications or tracking features could be reset to system defaults. I recommend to the users that they make note of these customizations beforehand so that they can make the appropriate adjustments after the move (if this occurs).


  • The security access for minimum users may be blanked for the account. This setting is for other users to proxy your calendar/busy search the account. In my system, it is recommended that this setting be set to "Read Access Rights" to the calendar for collaboration benefits.

For the "cautious" user

As with anything in technology, nothing is foolproof. I always recommend to users that they review their own situation. They can then determine items that absolutely cannot be lost in the event of a major problem during the move and archive them prior to the move. This then provides the ability to un-archive the information after the move.

Summary

There may be some other things that impact the end-users that could be specific to other systems. These things I've covered, I've seen repeatedly and can prepare for with little effort on the part of the user or myself, resulting in a process that is very routine and has very little impact.

By understanding the potential impacts listed in this document, you as the administrator can reduce the overall burden to yourself and the end users. When moving users, it's always best to run a few "pilot" or "beta" moves prior to undertaking a massive project. During these pilot moves, monitoring the system closely will provide a good understanding of what should be seen and make indicate potential pitfalls within your environment. My next article will cover monitoring the move process, reviewing what I've found to be key factors for success along with potential issues. This next article will provide a baseline for you so that your move process occurs, an assurance or level of confidence can be maintained.

Watch for more articles by Dave Muldoon, every couple of weeks, under the resources link on GroupWise Cool Solutions - http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/gwmag/features/trenches/tr_how_dave_does_it_gw.html.


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