The One Year Anniversary of Hire

Well, I’ve worked for the State of Colorado for one year now. So far, I’ve had the following lasting impacts on the State of Colorado.

Virtualizing and Upgrading the Scanning System for UI Scanning for the State of Colorado and Upgrading Workstations to Windows 7.

Before I arrived, Unemployment Insurance Scanning Operations was run off an ancient Windows 2000 physical machine, and two slightly less ancient Server 2003 virtual machines. These had been slated for an upgrade all the way back in 2012, and several attempts were made before I began working to do the virtualization process. Several things worked against us. The workstations were Windows XP workstations that had been tweaked configured in different ways. Some had DLLs registered on the server. Others had DLLs registered locally on the machine. The software was built in the Pre-XP era of ‘write to anywhere on the filesystem,’ ‘don’t care about security,’ and ’64 bit? That’s science fiction!’ They first tried to virtualize it using Server 2008 R2, which was 64 bit. When that didn’t work, they then tried to virtualize it on Server 2008 32 bit, and had had an attempted migration the month before I started. Again, it failed, and they were at wits end.

With me being hired, they had someone else to approach it. My background in Server Administration helped immensely here. I quickly located the problem (DLLs not being registered, and began constructing a new scan server. When it became clear that the workstations were risks of their own, the Windows 7 migration that was planned was moved up, and integrated with the Server 2008 install.

The task was grueling. It took from Early April of 2014, when I first began to grasp the system, through Memorial Day when we realized that the migration needed to be a complete replacement including Windows 7 workstations, until early October to finally get the system in place and acceptable to the Scanning Division. Even today, I’m still working hard to continue stomping out the few remaining issues with this system.

Not that I’m working alone on this. Colleagues in Deskside Services and Server Operations are essential for me to make this happen. Don Slack at Deskside is doing more than his fair share to track down a workstation issue, and Jerry Anderson has been very encouraging and supportive in allowing me to take the lead on tweaking the server and all the services that run on that server. Without their help, and the help of their managers, I’d not be where I am today.

Like my much less planned Novell Netware to Windows 2000 Server adventure back in the day, I have left a permanent mark on an organization, that may well survive far beyond me (but hopefully will poof this March when they finally upgrade the software itself!). I’m going to add that feather to my cap, going forward.

This isn’t the only thing I’ve done over the year. I’ve also done some much less glamorous coding work on Colorado’s SIDES application, assisted fellow coworkers in their tasks, helped do documentation work, and supported the citizens and divisions of Colorado with my skills. But that one task is the highlight of 2014. Now for 2015 and the challenges ahead.

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