Customs deploys Vista

A clarification was made to this story. Read below for details.
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor

A clarification was made to this story. Read below for details.

update The Australian Customs Service will shortly begin deploying Microsoft's brand new Windows Vista operating system to its PC fleet of some 5,500 machines.

The upgrade forms a key part of the agency's One Office project, which is slated to update Customs' desktops and local area network (LAN) servers. The desktops will be replaced with new hardware and a new standard operating environment based on Vista, while the LAN servers in turn are updated to the latest Microsoft software, dumping Novell and CA tools in the process.

"Customs have finalised the design and testing of the new environment and will shortly be rolling out the Microsoft Windows Vista desktop to pilot sites in the ACT," a Customs spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to ZDNet Australia today.

"The back end LAN servers have been deployed, and the remainder of Customs' desktops will be progressively deployed over the next few months." Customs is believed to have some 4,800 desktop machines, with an additional 500-700 laptops. This hardware will be replaced as part of the Vista refresh, although the agency could not immediately confirm the project's hardware vendor.

According to a 19 June 2006 Customs presentation stored by the Australian Government Information Management Office, the One Office project will see Vista (with Office 2003) supplant Windows 2000 on desktops, with Microsoft's Exchange 5.5 collaboration server updated to Exchange 2003.

Novell's Directory Services, Netware and Zenworks applications are slated to be replaced with Microsoft's Active Directory, Operations Manager (MOM) and Systems Management Server (SMS) software, running on Windows Server 2003. The future of CA's Unicenter tool -- which is currently providing some related services within Customs -- has not yet been finalised.

Citrix Presentation Server 4 will be used to deploy applications remotely.

The One Office project was designed to present Customs' officers with "a single view and access capability", regardless from where they accessed the agency's network -- be it their desk, another Customs site, or externally.

The Customs deployment is unusual in an Australian environment where enterprise take-up of Vista is expected to be slow. Most chief information officers recently polled by ZDNet Australia on the subject of Vista have signalled their reluctance to adopt Vista widely until there is a pressing business need, or the operating system matures.


Clarification: The story has been updated to clarify that CA's Unicenter tool is not slated to be replaced as originally stated. No decision on its fate has been made.
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