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Windows XP to Linux Migration Strategy

Introduction

Windows XP terminals are sources of vulnerabilities for the LSDG institution. The flaw is owed to the fact that Microsoft no longer offers support with patches to the obsolete operating system. Windows XP is meant to run on hardware that is being phased out by modern, improved infrastructure. Targeted attacks will cost the company a fortune indicating the reason to move to Linux. Security, longevity, configuration, maintenance, and integration costs are among the key considerations to the migration with Linux forming the ideal candidate to fill the gap. Any institution has to deliberate on whether to compromise security and client data integrity over implementing an environment that is both stable and light on hardware and software resources.

 

LSDG Workstation Hardware

Linux will effectively run on the current desktop configurations, minimum system requirement for SUSE Linux Enterprise version. With this in mind, the migration is assured of reduced cost on investing in new hardware. Linux installations will run on the current platform Windows XP. Here the company may decide to move to new hardware, which should be done in phases reducing downtime. The chief of the company may decide to use new hardware as system outage may result into losses emanating from untimely attendance to tasks (SUSE, 2015). Once the company achieves the specs on the current Windows 7 stations, there benefits such as easier administration besides the economies of scale. User training will be essential as a recommendation keeping in mind the changes in interface and the user resistance that emerges during any system changes.

Windows XP to SUSE Linux Migration

Migration to SUSE Linux is less complex and time consuming due to the inbuilt tool to ease the migration. Data in the current stations must be backed-up into the approved locations such as network file servers. Proper skills are required when migrating to Linux environment. During this period, data may be lost or compromised where the migration operators do not understand the task. Minimal migration time should be set and a migration project plan documented to ensure that all entries are achieved with their order of urgency and need (SUSE, 2015).

The network administration lead ought to ensure that the primary domain name server will achieve domain controller attributes. The domain controller ensures that the active directory integrations are easily realized into the new platform. Installation takes place on confirming data integrity from the earlier backups. Configuration errors at migration could cause the entire institution to go to a standstill and lose in revenue and reputations from partners and the reporting bodies.

SUSE Linux installation from a DVD or bootable external drive has user-friendly prompts. Features such as the Samba Winbind and client and Kerberos client must be installed at the onset (SUSE, 2015). During the process, an administrator account is created for use at the next reboot to commence the graphical user interface, to aid in selecting network services and registering domain membership. The Network administrator inputs the domain membership details to connect to the new active directory. Critical requirements inscribed in the institutions policies and procedures must be observed. Administrator credentials are a requirement to achieve the process.

The next login is ready for the user assigned account, from where a connection to the backup location enables data download to the home directory assigned to the logged-in user. Capturing backup images is ideal at this point; several off-shelf tools are available to take images. In the event of failures on the new hard drives, the images form a fall back will help to recover data. Re-installations may be required in cases where user data has not been restored as recommended or the operating system has failed at installation.

User Log In

SUSE Linux enterprise edition offers simplicity in migrating from the similar prompts in Windows domain first time log in procedures. Each user holds a unique domain name and password. These are essential to access network resources. The administration is top notch with this setup. Unique usernames allow the admins to segregate rights and conduct audit trails where required.

IP Address Assignment

IP addressing is a critical entry for a network administrator; improper layering may compromise the institutions security. SUSE Linux alerts the administrator to input internet protocol addressing with two options at hand. The administrator may choose static IPs, default gateway and domain name server IPs to access network resources. Meanwhile, Dynamic host control protocol (DHCP) may allow for the automated assignment of IP addresses. Utilizing DHCP is less time consuming at the current Windows XP platform.

DNS Configuration

Depending on the selected setup, static or automated IPs, DNS configurations are evaluated at this stage. DHCP is recommended for the migration. Portable devices may call for frequents changes in addressing where static IPs are utilized, a drawback corrected using DHCP and securing the time that would otherwise be required to assign the static addresses.

Network File Sharing Configuration

Network file sharing eases stress on workstation resources. Samba entries mentioned above, assist in achieving network file sharing. The configurations are completed using the recommended text files. YaST2 tool, in this case, will allow for network file sharing enabled by authentication at logon. Domain level authentication is sufficient for file sharing provided that the files accessed have had permissions granted while on the Windows XP platform (Manuel, 2012).

Active Directory File Sharing

Windows XP has the can to access folders availed in file servers. This recommendation is maintained for the SUSE Linux despite the possessing capabilities for local directory sharing. This is a critical control in minimizing unauthorized access applying to laptops on the higher side. Laptops are portable often connecting to customer and partner networks. LSDG and group file sharing has system administrators required to deploy shared folders on the servers (Manuel, 2012). The task checks for the necessary permissions. A group will only access files assigned to them by the administrator. Permission and sign-on are leveraged within the groups in the active directory (Schmidt, 2013). This will eliminate the need to manage permissions and share directories locally. Lower administrative overheads are achieved with minimal configurations.

Printing Configuration

CUPs services assist in powering printing services when deploying. To achieve optimal printing functions, printer-specific drivers are installed prior to realizing the services. YaST2 is beneficial in simplifying and automating the deployment of the device newly connected to the workstation. SUSE Linus must support the drivers for a successful installation. YaST2 tool assists in installing the printer module. Remote queue and local printer are the options to choose from where the printer is connected to a network and directly to a workstation respectively. The admin is required to select the name of the printer.

Encryption Configuration Requirements

Security is a major factor to consider for any institution. An enterprise may encounter financial losses because of the compromised user, client or partner data. Litigations are common. Laptops, in this case, are highly sensitive. Home directories must be encrypted to mitigate data theft for cases of stolen laptops (Schmidt, 2015). Encrypted disks will not allow a third party to access scrambled data, securing the company from unlawful data access. The active user credentials are required to log in the workstation prior to using the YaST module. The module will allow the operator to encrypt the sensitive data. The user logged-in at the time of the encryption accesses data.

Manpower Estimates

Configuration at deployment may be lowered on utilizing the SUSE YaST on AutoYaST (Schmidt, 2013). Below are the estimates reducing interruptions to certain durations and thereafter automating the configuration installs portion.

Entire backup for all stations encompassing predefined integrity checks as per indicated intervals for 4hours.

Active AD DNS integrated zones activation inclusive of testing time set at 2 hours.

Installation of SUSE Linux package and the recommended clients, domain introduction though AutoYaST, print, file sharing and encryption conjurations will take approximately 100 hours with room to configure and verify the functional structures.

20 hours must be provisioned to install appropriate packages and protocols such as dynamic host control protocol. Imaging falls here.

Manual reboots are required after shutting down all workstations consumes in excess of 50 hours.

174 hours will see the project fully migrated within the laid strategy. Implementations should be in phases to ensure minimal interruptions to users handling the same task simultaneously.

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Conclusion

In the recent past, Linux was not an option to consider deploying in work stations from its extensive administration needs. Linux has released various user-friendly versions easily integrating to active directories running on Windows operating system. The company is assured to benefit from stability and readily available security patches which the Windows XP setup doesnt offer. Efficiency is optimized under Linux with the extra hours directed to projects meant to improve the functions and innovations in the company. Migrating to SUSE Linux has short and long-term benefits as highlighted on the above recommendations. New hardware similar to what is running on the current Windows 7 platform will achieve longevity and lower cost through voluminous purchases. The off-shelf tools facilitate in installing SUSE Linux. Microsoft offers its products at a high fee compared to SUSE Linux that has open source version ready for client installation. Linux is ideal in handling system flaws and vulnerabilities. The patches are easy to come by compared to Windows XP.

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