Being an IT Professional Advisor for Microsoft, I get the opportunity to talk to a lot of customers and IT professionals at events and client visits. I also get the opportunity to attend and speak at industry events on a variety of subjects. As you might have read earlier - part of my job is to attend "other software vendor" product sessions in order to stay on top of what IT professionals are working with in their environments. 

In my previous job as a consultant I was engaged by various customers to do Active Directory design and implementations as well as migrations from the Netware platform to the Windows Server platform. I used to (and still very much do) get asked this question a lot. "What does it take to move from the Novell platform to the Microsoft platform".  My first response is a typical Consultant response of "it depends…". This normally kicks into a long discussion around the merits an values of the Microsoft stack and the process / tools required to start and complete a migration. 

One of the challenges customers and IT professionals had in the past was being able to gauge what tools and sort of process was involved in doing a migration from eDirectory/NDS/Novell over to Active Directory with Windows Server File and Print services.  It required the creation of a lab, representative data and time and effort to setup and maintain something to get the local staff / professional services staff up to speed on what is actually going to take place.

Wait a minute - I can help you out with that now! I just stumbled upon this lovely little gem that I wanted to share with you.  There is a new TechNet virtual Lab available to give you access to a virtualized lab environment that will allow you spend the time to become familiar with the migration tools and the actual process that will be required to move user accounts, groups and objects from a Netware environment over to a Windows environment.

Did I mention it was FREE?
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/traincert/virtuallab/nwmigrate.mspx

I've run through the lab and worked with the environment. It brought back memories of previous migration projects from my past life. It's good. Take the time to check it out!

I know that free (as in free beer) is always good, but there is something to be said for additional heavy lifting help.  Hey - maybe I'll start something new here on my blog.  If there is enough interest.  I can get my friends at Quest Software to post an article on the value their migration tools bring to the equation. I'll check into my contacts at quest to see if I can hook in one of their engineers (not sales/marketing folks) to talk about their experiences with their tools and the process they use to assist with migration efforts. Stay tuned.

Check out the lab - try it out. What do you think? Leave me a comment.