In April/May this year, our team from Education Queensland, a government department in Australia, headed to Redmond to take part in some preliminary testing and development work on the NAP project. This was a part of a Technology Adoption Program we signed up on as part of a partnership with Microsoft. During the trip which lasted three weeks, we had the pleasure of meeting most of the NAP team (including Jeff) who led us through the land of NAP. Prior to leaving, a lot of lead up work was done in the test lab in Brisbane so that the setup and configuration of the lab in Redmond could be done as quickly as possible. Our current production environment consists of 550,000 users across 1,350 sites with 130,000 machines in an area around a third the size of the United States, so it was important to nail the preparatory work. After performing all the lead-up work, we managed to have the complete environment up and running within the first week at the Microsoft labs.
This environment included 150 Longhorn RODC’s to replicate a ‘region’ in our production environment (which we built in a single day!). We also emulated 6 ‘physical’ sites in order to perform end-to-end testing on the NAP scenarios identified as possibilities in our environment. These included the three ‘flavours’ of NAP (IPSec, DHCP and 802.1x) and SMSv4 to perform client remediation. All of these scenarios tested well, helped along by a lot of input from the developers, PM’s and other support staff at Microsoft.
All in all, the trip was a huge success with the team returning to Australia much wiser and more NAP-aware. We were quarantine checked at customs (how ironic) and headed back to work to re-build the test lab on Beta 2 and impart some knowledge on our colleagues. The project is due to continue, with a rollout of IPSec NAP using the XP client and some Vista machines into production in the coming weeks.
We would really like to thank Jeff and the team for making us feel extremely welcome on campus and for the effort they put into making our test plan a reality – as ambitious as it was! We would also like to stay in touch with the team, as well as any others who may be NAP-interested. Email me whenever you like on simon.OBRIEN@qed.qld.gov.au if you have any questions about our trip or our upcoming NAP production implementation.