On Fri, Jul 11, 2003 at 01:07:50AM -0400, Dragoncrest wrote:
>       Ok, I've gotta convince my boss to switch from windows 2000 to 
>       freebsd for all our internal needs.  So far I've half convinced him, but 
> I've hit a snag.  I know that Samba can be used for a lot of things, and 
> I'm trying to tell him all the things that Samba will do, but I can't think 
> of many.  Can you guys name all the uses for samba?  I've already talked 
> him into replacing our windows firewall, mail and other basic servers with 
> freebsd, but we've still got a couple of domain servers to get rid of and I 
> know that Samba can replace them as well.  Can you guys help me out here?  
> Maybe toss in a little TCO jargon so that he sees it both from a technical 
> side as well as what matters most ot him.  Money.  THanks!!

I would take this one step at a time. Get a firewall installed, get it 
working, work out the kinks, etc. If possible, keep a log for a week of 
the traffic through your existing firewall, so that you know what you 
will have to pass through your new firewall and what you can block. If 
you are not already fully familiar with writing rules for the new 
firewall, you prabably want to do this before replacing the existing 
firewall. Otherwise, there's going to be a lot of user pain, which will 
become pain for your boss, which will dampen his enthousiasm tremendously.
Once you've got the firewall installed and working properly, go through 
as similar process with mail and other servers.

The most persuasive TCO evidence is that from your own systems. If you 
are not already tracking costs, then you won't be able to provide 
detailed info, but you can still point out the areas where you are saving 
money; e.g. licenses. But if I were a manager, I would be more concerned 
about reliability than cost. Since your organization is already using 
Windows systems, their cost is obviously not a barrier to use. And if 
someone did a massive install of FreeBSD systems and they didn't immediately 
work as well as the Windows systems they replaced, I would be very 
unhappy. Unless you are *very* experienced with FreeBSD and the software 
that you will run on FreeBSD, there's going to be a learning curve. Since 
you are asking about Samba, you don't have that kind of experience. Spare 
your users and your boss as much of that learning curve as possible. The 
parts of the learning curve that you can't spare them should be 
administered in small units, so that you don't create the impression that 
FreeBSD is unrealiable. 

There are going to be sceptics at every stage. If you do anything that 
causes problems, there's going to be pressure to replace the new 
"unreliable" FBSD systems with the old "reliable" Win systems. The greater 
the problems, the greater the pressure. On the other hand, if each step 
is relatively painless, that gives you a strong argument for pursuing 
the next step. And you'll be remembered either as the person who helped 
bring about painless cost savings, or as the person who caused massive 
problems and almost shut down the company. 

Remember also that everyone who comes into contact with the new systems 
will need some retraining. It's not enough to set up a new system and 
get it to run reliably. The organization has to learn to work with it.
Until that happens, the new system is "unreliable" from the user's 
point of view. I remember a friend describing a change-over from Unix 
to Windows when a small law firm was bought by another law firm. 
Imagine a grandmotherly AA saying, with a strong southern accent, "It 
would bray-ik ma hawt ta hay-if ta learn Windows." You'll get a 
similar response from anyone who has to move in the opposite direction.
I've never seen a change in which at least one person didn't talk about 
how much better the old system was.

Bob Hall

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