4-page Case Study
Posted: 11/2/2009
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City of Växjö Swedish City Saves $500,000 in E-Mail Storage and Labor Costs with New Solution

The City of Växjö in Sweden was maintaining multiple e-mail systems for students and employees. It wanted to consolidate the systems and improve reliability while offering more e-mail features, but it needed an affordable solution. The city is meeting its needs by deploying Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010 with direct-attached storage. Instead of a traditional failover cluster, it is taking advantage of the new Database Availability Group feature and using database copies and continuous replication to achieve full redundancy. By deploying direct-attached storage instead of a storage area network, Växjö has saved more than U.S.$400,000 in storage costs. The city also expects to save up to $110,500 in IT labor costs because of simplified administration. In addition, the city’s students and employees are benefiting from larger mailboxes, new productivity features, and improved availability.

Situation

The City of Växjö (Växjö kommun) is a small city in Sweden known for its high standard of living and work on environmental issues. Established in 1342, the city has 7,400 employees and a population of approximately 81,000. It is also home to Växjö University and approximately 7,000 businesses in a range of industries.

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* Exchange Server 2010 is a much more affordable solution because we can use regular servers with direct-attached storage. So in addition to improving availability, we have saved a lot of money.  *

Per Andersson
IT Manager
City of Växjö

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City employees and students communicate using e-mail services provided by Växjö IT staff. The city managed six separate e-mail environments that included Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino. Managing multiple environments was both time-consuming and costly. As a result, the city wanted to reduce its labor, hardware, and licensing costs with a consolidated solution.

Approximately 10,000 people needed access to the city’s e-mail services, so high availability was another priority. If a failure occurred, it could take from five minutes to 24 hours to restore service from a single-database backup. Adding to the challenge, Växjö started an initiative in 2009 to distribute free portable computers to all students from primary school through college. When the program is complete in 2011, Växjö expects the number of users it supports to double.

More than half of the city’s existing users accessed e-mail with the Microsoft Office Outlook® Web Access messaging and collaboration client. The thousands of students who are expected to receive city-issued computers will also connect through the Internet. Växjö wanted to improve service for mobile users. For example, the city hoped to increase users’ mailbox size so that its students and workers would have access to more of their e-mail data when they left the office or school. The mailbox size was 300 megabytes (MB), and users working with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 had to manage information by deleting old messages or archiving them in Outlook Data Files (PST files) on their workstations.

Administration was another concern. Each e-mail system was separately maintained on a single server computer, and Växjö performed full, incremental tape backups daily for each system. It wanted a centralized storage solution that would be more reliable and easier to manage, but it thought that upgrading to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and a storage area network (SAN) would be too costly. The city wanted to consolidate, but it needed a more affordable solution.

Solution

When Växjö heard that Microsoft was preparing to release Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, it knew that it had found the right solution. Instead of replicating data on a traditional failover cluster and using a SAN solution, the city would be able to replicate its databases on mailbox servers in a Database Availability Group and use direct-attached storage with lower cost Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) hard disk drives. Moreover, the city could significantly increase its users’ mailbox size while reducing its overall storage costs.

Växjö began implementing Exchange Server 2010 in May 2009 with an initial pilot group of 150 users. By October 2009, about 1,000 people were using the solution. The city plans to continue deployment in early 2010, and it will complete the project in the third calendar quarter when students are not in school.

The city installed a Database Availability Group that includes two copies of each database on mailbox servers at the main site and a third copy at a remote location.

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* We have a lot of students relying on our solution, and now we can ensure high uptime year-round with Exchange Server 2010.  *

Per Andersson
IT Manager
City of Växjö

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Recently, the city successfully tested the solution’s failover capability when a disk failed unexpectedly. Växjö immediately switched service to another server and repaired the failure without taking users offline. Växjö can perform other management tasks without disrupting service. For example, with the Online Move Mailbox feature, administrators can move a mailbox to another database while the user is still accessing e-mail.

The city has also increased its users’ mailbox size from 300 MB to 1 gigabyte. In addition to taking advantage of larger mailboxes, users appreciate enhancements in Microsoft Outlook Web App such as Conversation View. The feature groups messages from a single conversation together, even if individual messages are stored in separate folders. Each group of messages can be moved, deleted, or otherwise managed as a whole. Busy students and workers are also taking advantage of shared calendars to check the schedules and availability of others.

The city is extending its collaboration capabilities further by implementing Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. When the project is complete, employees and students will be able to take advantage of instant messaging (IM) and presence information within Outlook Web App. As the next generation of students prepares to go online, the city sees the new solution as the beginning of future possibilities, which might include a hosted solution such as Microsoft Exchange Online or other online services. Per Andersson, IT Manager at the City of Växjö, says, “We look into the future and know that things are changing, so perhaps we will end up with our own environment connected to the cloud and Microsoft Online Services.”

Benefits

The City of Växjö is using Exchange Server 2010 to increase the availability of its messaging environment while cutting costs significantly. The city has also improved services and eased administration with the new solution.

Saves More Than U.S.$500,000 in IT Costs

By consolidating multiple messaging environments into one high-availability solution, Växjö is cutting IT costs. The city estimates that by deploying Exchange Server 2010 mailbox servers with direct-attached storage and SATA hard disk drives, it has saved more than $400,000 in hardware costs compared to the cost of deploying a SAN. It will also save up to $110,500 in labor costs through simplified administration. Moreover, although the city purchased new server computers for its Exchange Server 2010 solution, it expects an immediate return on investment in both licensing and hardware costs when it eliminates the existing six servers and the backup tape solutions running in its old environment.

“Exchange Server 2010 is a much more affordable solution because we can use regular servers with direct-attached storage,” says Andersson. “So in addition to improving availability, we have saved a lot of money.”

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* When we want to do any upgrade … we can just move our Exchange Server 2010 databases or mailboxes to another server and make the improvement while users stay online.  *

Niklas Hörling
IT Platform Manager
City of Växjö

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Improves Services

In addition to cutting costs, Växjö is improving service with higher uptime and new features. Reliable access from almost any location is especially important for the city’s mobile student population, which is rapidly expanding as younger students go online. Andersson says, “We have a lot of students relying on our solution, and now we can ensure high uptime year-round with Exchange Server 2010.”

Larger mailboxes are also important because they give the Växjö community better flexibility. Ulrika Gunnarsson, Project Manager at the City of Växjö, says, “Now that we can increase our mailbox size with Exchange Server 2010, users will have better access to their data even when they are not at school or the office.”

Students and employees will be able to keep more information in their mailbox—which will include e-mail and instant messages stored with Office Outlook 2007 when Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is fully implemented. However, they can manage the growing volume of data more efficiently with new features such as Conversation View, which groups multiple messages from different folders together in a single conversation. As a result, users will save time by identifying relevant conversations and finding the most recent messages quickly. Andersson says, “We can already see the empowering benefits of Outlook Web App.”

Eases Administration

Both end users and administrators benefit from the Exchange Server 2010 solution. “For an administrator, Exchange Server 2010 is a big improvement,” says Gunnarsson. ”We can do our administrative tasks during the day with Exchange Server 2010; we don’t have to come in during the weekend to perform upgrades.”

Her colleague, Niklas Hörling, IT Platform Manager at Växjö, adds, “When we want to do any upgrade—whether to hardware or software—we can just move our Exchange Server 2010 databases or mailboxes to another server and make the improvement while users stay online.”

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about the City of Växjö, call 46 470 41 000 or visit the Web site at:
www.vaxjo.se

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 can help you achieve better business outcomes while controlling the costs of deployment, administration, and compliance. Exchange Server 2010 delivers the widest range of deployment options, integrated information leakage protection, and advanced compliance capabilities, which combine to form the best messaging and collaboration solution available.

For more information about Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, go to:
www.microsoft.com/exchange

For more information about Microsoft unified communications, go to:
www.microsoft.com/uc

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published November 2009
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 7400 employees

Organization Profile

The City of Växjö (Växjö kommun) is a progressive city in southern Sweden with a population of 81,000. It has 7,400 employees.


Business Situation

Växjö maintained multiple separate e-mail environments. It wanted to consolidate with a more reliable solution, but implementing a traditional failover cluster and storage area network was too costly.


Solution

To improve service and cut costs, Växjö is implementing Microsoft® Exchange Server 2010 with direct-attached storage. It is also deploying Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2.


Benefits
  • Saves more than U.S.$500,000 in IT costs
  • Improves services
  • Eases administration

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2

Vertical Industries
  • Local Government Agencies
  • Education
  • Higher Education
  • Primary & Secondary Edu/ K-12

Country/Region
Sweden

Business Need
Business Productivity

IT Issue
Desktop, Device and Server Management

Languages
English

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