On Feb 14, 2008, at 8:41 AM, Harper, Chris wrote:
> Listserves were ADFUTURE and EMAILFUTURE, just a small correction
> there. But yes will be a good platform for this discussion.
> Christopher M. Harper
> MANAGER OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
> University Relations / Michigan State University
> 401 Olds Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1047
> Email: [log in to unmask] / Direct: 517.355.9980
> Web: http://ur.msu.edu / Cell: 517.290.5496
> From: MSU Network Administrators Group [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> On Behalf Of Troy Murray
> Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 8:36 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [MSUNAG] MSU Exchange Thoughts on Central Active
> Directory and no more "Islands"
> A good thread to start the list setup for that discussion, I think
> it was by using "adfuture" and or "mailfuture" in the subject and
> body to the list serve address.
> Troy Murray
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Feb 13, 2008, at 7:25 PM, Esther Reed <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I left today’s IT Exchange a bit early so perhaps my following
> comments have been discussed:
> (This is a bit long to provide background to those who did not
> When I left, the discussion about options for MSU Email was
> revolving around MS Exchange and a central AD. The idea of a single
> sign-on using just the centrally authenticated and maintained
> account was included in this. Tom Davis asked, “If we built it,
> would you come?” I must add that some of the discussion seemed (to
> me) to wander from a central email system to an entirely central
> computing system -- no more “islands”.
> The responses, that I heard, discussed the pros and cons from IT and
> business viewpoints: What is reasonable or convenient to create and
> maintain? I heard no one mention a major component: the needs of
> individual colleges, units, departments and programs. Aren’t
> computing systems supposed to serve and mesh with a unit’s workflow
> (as much as possible given their budget)?
> MSU has over 240 graduate programs -- most have different needs,
> priorities and workflows. Add to that undergraduate programs,
> research grants, centers, extension services and satellite
> operations. It is easy to see that many pieces of MSU have vastly
> different needs and workflows that will not fit a standard business
> The problems with a central Exchange and AD are (1) one-size-fits-
> all configuration, (2) inability to nimbly change, and (3) long
> response times. These are NOT criticisms; these are the nature of
> the beast.
> (1) One-size-fits-all: A central system can not match its AD to
> the workflow of every unit on campus. It just can’t. A “best fit”
> middle-of-the-road configuration will have to be used. Units, who
> do not quite match, will have to adjust their workflows to fit. A
> unit with its own child domain will have more flexibility, but some
> limitations will have to exist to ensure that all domains play
> nicely together.
> (2) Nimble changes: How long does it take for a single unit to
> upgrade its servers -- once the chairman or dean gives their
> blessing ;^) ? How long for a central system? How long have we
> just been *discussing* changing MSU email? Again, no criticism --
> thorough preparation is critical. It just takes a long time to
> change a behemoth.
> (3) Response times: If my Dean wants an account created or a
> global Exchange group changed right now, I can do that in minutes.
> How long will it take for a central system to respond to this
> request? 4 hours? 24 hours? 1 week?
> I do agree that a centrally maintained system will be attractive to
> some units, such as (a) units who have no IT person; (b) units who
> want their IT person to do something other than Exchange or AD; (c)
> units whose IT person is not interested in doing Exchange or AD; (d)
> units whose workflow will be minimally impacted; or (e) units who
> want a central feature such as a globally shared calendar (BTW, not
> everyone wants this.).
> However, I believe that many units need a specialized configuration,
> nimble changes, quick response times and an IT person who intimately
> knows their workflow. These units will continue to maintain their
> separate “islands” as long as they can afford to do so. These units
> pay for this because it makes sense for how they need to do business
> -- it strengthens whatever service or course they provide. To tell
> them “too bad” and force them to a central system will weaken them
> -- compared to competing programs or services -- and, in turn,
> weaken MSU.
> It would be far better to have central *policies* of what is needed
> (security, encryption, disaster protection, email services, etc.).
> Then each unit would be allowed to choose how to comply -- either
> join the central system or make sure that their “island” follows the
> I believe that MSU will continue to need both: a central system and
> What are your thoughts or opinions?
> ~ Esther
> Esther V. V. Reed
> IT Systems Administrator
> MSU Graduate School
Michigan State University
Biomedical Research and Informatics Center (BRIC)
100 Conrad Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
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