Now for the promised explanation of what I’ll be doing over in Africa. My friend Michael works for UNC at the Tidziwe hospital in Malawi. They currently are using AtMail for their mail services - Michael and I helped set this up after they bought it about a year ago. I’ll hopefully be setting up an Exchange 2010 server to act as a pilot to see if they want to deploy it further.
They also want to use Windows Sharepoint Services (Sharepoint Foundation in the 2010 version) for internal collaboration and document sharing. I’ll help them install and configure this as well. The 2010 version was just released, I haven’t had a chance to play around with it yet. The hardware requirements on the server end might make it somewhat more difficult for them to deploy though. I’m thinking I’ll probably recommend using Windows Sharepoint Services 3, which is more more established.
The UNC project in Malawi is also in need of having a solid backup system put into place. I’m going to evaluate the applications and data they use and help them implement a basic system to backup their data in case of problems. One issue that appears to be fairly common there is a loss of electricity. Lastly, I might help segment their network into VLAN’s to give them a little bit better control over the traffic flowing through their limited Internet connection. They already have a Barracuda web filtering device that the purchased last year, so this will help enhance the power of their filtering appliance.
Now, I’m also hoping to work on a few other projects that I think could benefit them.
They have been trying to establish site to site links between satellite clinics around Lilongwe and the main facility. Some of these links were point-to-point wifi solutions, and some of them are thought to be more appropriate for a site to site VPN. Both of those topics interest me, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get the sites connected together.
A network access control system could also benefit them, though the hassle may outweigh the benefit. It sounds as if they have problems with a lot of people bringing unauthorized and/or insecure devices on to the network. A NAC system can help to keep those users off the network, or at least on a different VLAN.
So there’s the major things I want to focus on in Malawi. Also, I’ll probably be spending a few days in Moshi, Tanzania. It’s a Duke University medical clinic near Mt. Kilimanjaro that has to switch satellite ISP’s in the next month. Michael and I are planning on traveling there to assist them with the transition, and to provide additional network advice and suggestions in the future. It’ll probably be around the end of the month - May 29 - June 1, but I’m not 100% sure yet.