Danielle Prince is a senior studying Information Science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She grew up on Maui and graduated from Kekaulike High School in 2007 before heading to the mainland for college. She hopes to find a job involving Web design or database development, possibly following graduate school. When she is home on Maui, Danielle enjoys going to the beach (or reading books and seeing friends, when the beach is not an option).
Home Island: Maui
High School: Kekaulike High School
Institute when accepted: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Construction of a Safe Lab Environment for Computer System Upgrades and Testing
Project Site: Akimeka, LLC
Mentor: Errol Gorospe
Many of today’s businesses maintain their own internal computer networks and e-mail servers. In order to maintain optimal system performance, both must be kept up-to-date as new technology becomes available and new software versions are released. Akimeka is preparing to perform a pair of upgrades to their corporate computer network: (1) update Active Directory (which sets up the network infrastructure) from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, and (2) update their e-mail server from Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2010. Upgrades of this magnitude are first planned out and tested in a safe, isolated computing environment, or “lab,” where accidents or mistakes will not pose a problem to the actual system. Hence, we started by creating a lab similar to Akimeka’s current network structure and e-mail system, but on a much smaller scale, to use for simulating and testing the planned upgrades. Two servers were employed to set up the network, add users, and provide IP addresses for Internet access, and one server was used to house Exchange and allow e-mail to be sent back and forth. Research was conducted on strategies to upgrade the network and e-mail configurations without losing or negatively affecting the current setup. As the test upgrade progresses in the lab environment, problems that arise and their solutions are being documented, so that they might be later avoided or worked around. Finally, a documented plan for the upgrade will be prepared, based on the upgrade and tests performed in the lab environment. If the upgrades in the lab environment are successful, the documented plan will be used during the upgrade of the company’s actual system later this year.