Page Three

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2002-11-04 Print this article Print

: Packers Tackle AD"> AD deployment is picking up speed at some organizations that are moving ahead with deployments of Exchange 2000. Two years into the three-year renovation of 43-year-old Lambeau Field, including its technology infrastructure, IT managers for the National Football Leagues Green Bay Packers are planning a deployment of AD because of an upcoming move to the Exchange 2000 platform.

The Packers technology deployments are often based on the technology used by the NFLs corporate offices because the football teams systems need to be interoperable with those of the NFL. Last year, the NFL announced it would begin an implementation of AD in preparation for Microsofts .Net Framework. This meant that every team—including the Packers—had to decide whether it wanted to use the NFLs AD forests or build their own to replicate with the NFLs in the future.

Currently, the entire league runs on the Exchange 5.5 environment and has a global catalog in which every employee of the NFL and its 32 football teams can be cross-referenced in public folders. By deploying Exchange 2000 and AD, the NFL hopes to replicate a similar environment and features on a broader scope, said Wayne Wichlacz, director of IS for the Packers, in Green Bay, Wis.

Wichlacz, who is currently using Windows NT 4.0 domain controllers, said single sign-on and authentication are features he is considering as part of his AD deployment. While hed like to enable single sign-on for all network operating system applications, Wichlacz said he is unsure if hell incorporate the NFLs intranet into his single-sign-on plans.

"Ultimately, IT has to service our customers, and sometimes you do what you need to do to help your end users versus whats easier for us IT people to manage," he said. "If single sign-on for intranet and network applications is important, then we will consider Active Directory to manage the authentication of both."

Wichlacz conceded that deployment will not be easy but said that Microsoft has provided enough documentation and support to provide a fairly good idea of how his deployment will work.

The fact that AD has been available for three years now also means the technology is mature enough for organizations that are loath to be early adopters, experts say. Although Wichlacz will look at AD/AM as an option when it is released, he said he will wait until after he has finished deploying AD before deploying AD/AM-based directories.

"Well be moving to Active Directory because if you buy into the direction from Microsoft, you have to keep up with them," Wichlacz said. "Its not realistic in the business world to migrate every time a new product is released, but the most you can be is one step behind."

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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