Larson Long Term Care Group was started up by Dale Larson. He sold his previous business to GE Capital and waited out the three-year non-compete then started LLTCG. I was hired to setup a basic infrastructure, connect all the PC’s together, setup this ISDN line they ordered, and then that was supposed to be the end of the gig. I completed all that work in about five days.
Shortly after finishing the job, I was approached by Dale and Steve. They offered me a full-time opportunity and explained that the current office is a temporary staging area as they locate a permanent facility and gear up to open branch offices nationwide in the next 12 to 18 months. They were so impressed with my initial consulting work; they wanted me to take on the role of Systems Administrator for the entire company which at the time was 20 employees in a 5k sqft office. I accepted.
Building this network was a challenging project since I had never done it before. I literally for the first time was architecting a corporate IT systems without any prior experience. Well, I called Microsoft, CompUSA, and some other resources to figure out what I needed to do. I took detailed notes and away I went. I studied Microsoft material on the subject matter gaining a lot of insight and knowledge from the networks I had built at home or connecting 2 or 3 machines together on a local network.
My design required several servers, and they were not cheap back in those days. My initial proposal for just the data center portion came in at around a million dollars, and I was given the green light.
I purchased Compaq Proliant machines. The first two machines were PDC and a BDC, the next two machines were for exchange server 1 and exchange server 2, followed by two more machines ms proxy server 1 and ms proxy server 2. We then needed other servers for biz/app which I ordered as well.
I built a Windows NT 4 Domain using the domain name of LLTCG. This was before the fqdn days that we are all familiar with now. I created the PDC or Primary Domain Controller, followed by the BDC or Backup Domain Controller. I setup DHCP, DNS, WINS, and then on to the user accounts, groups, permissions, etc. All this was working well, and I was excited about how easy this was all coming together since I had never done this before. I enjoyed the Windows 98 machines allowing users to log in from accounts I created on the domain. This was cool and similar to Novell Network Directory Services. Windows 98 was short lived because after I learned everything I could do and how I could centralize management, we quickly moved to Windows NT 4 Workstations, added Microsoft Systems Management Service or (SMS), and built out an exchange, SQL, MS Proxy, and all the other biz app services. I also had a backup system based on ArcServe which saved my bacon a few times.