4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/17/2012
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Ministerio de Defensa E-mail in the Cloud : more productivity at a lower cost

The Spanish Ministry of Defense wanted to evolve their email platform towards a more agile and modern solution, aligned with their corporate philosophy as well as to increase their capabilities in their users collaborative environment. To accomplish that, after reviewing the existing options delivered by the vendors, they decided in 2010 to migrate from Lotus Notes to a new platform based on Microsoft Exchange under a private could model (they migrated up to 30,000 seats during the first stage of the project while they implemented Microsoft Lync integrated in 15,000 seats to facilitate collaboration among the users of the Ministry).

Situation

Under the Enterprise Agreement (EA) signed with Microsoft in 2007 and renewed in 2010, the officers in charge of the Subdirección General de Tecnologías de la Información y Telecomunicaciones department of the Spanish Ministry of Defense evaluated how could they modernize the different corporate tools used in the Ministry and, in particular, the possibility to migrate the email toward a more modern, innovative solution which could integrate with their present domain infrastructure. “Our goal was to provide our Organization with a modern and agile email service, one that was accessible from the web environment and built upon a centralized and consolidated infrastructure that provides a more efficient management. We also wanted to increase the capabilities of the collaboration environment for the Ministry of Defense users” explains Colonel Piñol, in charge of the Technology and Communications Area for the Ministry of Defense.

Solution

After assessing all the different options offered by the vendors, the technology officers at the Ministry of Defense decided to adopt Microsoft Exchange following a private cloud model and Microsoft Lync to increase the collaboration capabilities between the users of the Ministry. As Colonel Piñol explains, “the ease of access, regardless the location of the users, more security and the possibility to have new collaboration tools were considered as very strong reasons for us to proceed with this migration”. Traditionally the messaging systems of the Ministry of Defense have always been a cornerstone to develop their military capabilities so this migration, which started last year, will affect the three branches of the armed forces (75,000 seats) which implies Spanish military bases spread all around the country and in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Navy ships, etc.

The previous email system had a decentralized topology deployment and a centralized management model, with nearly 500 servers deployed in many different places, and the users accessed them using a full-featured heavy email client.

According to Colonel Carlos Pérez Vázquez, Head of the Architecture Unit, “The adoption of Microsoft Exchange 2010 brings us a set of new tools that help us in our interpersonal work. These tools make it easier for us to accomplish our daily tasks and improve the relationships between the staff of the Ministry as well as their mobility. However, the official communications are managed applying military standards which are being provided by other applications at the moment”.

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* The email centralization under a private Cloud and a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model allows us to provision our technology investments and lower our costs *

Colonel Juan Piñol,
Head of Technology and Communications Area.
Ministry of Defense

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Aside this productivity improvements for their day to day activity, Colonel Pérez Vázquez comments that “the ability to centralize our email system using a new email tool (previously each branch of the Armed Forces managed their own communications) provides us a way to obtain great savings in hardware investments and to reduce the number of tasks we have to complete in remote locations, as well as savings in terms of electric consumption, local storage, backup processes and so on”.

Regarding the adoption of a private cloud model, Colonel Piñol states that for an organization such as the Ministry of Defense, the option of a private cloud is really engaging: “the ability to provide services in the cloud increases the mobility and the security of the users. So we decided that the interpersonal email services were delivered using a private cloud solution”, which is in fact the model they are deploying. Another advantage highlighted by the ICT Manager at the Ministry is that this cloud can help them to provision their investments in technology and avoid unnecessary costs.

Regarding the architecture of the solution, the Ministry of Defense had a previous authentication and resource sharing model based on Microsoft Active Directory, which is currently deployed in all the locations of the Ministry under a single-forest/single user domain model and centrally managed from the CCEA (Centro Corporativo de Explotación y Apoyo), although due the reduced available bandwidth for the locations using satellite communications, they created some other separated forests for navy ships and operations areas.

The solution that is being implemented takes the form of a new resource forest where they install and configure all the services and related servers they require. The users and machines’ accounts are not stored in this forest but in their current Directory domains and forests, for which they have set up the appropriate trust relationships, required to make the solution work.

This resource forest is populated with users’ accounts which are disabled in order to hold their mailboxes as well as users’ accounts and devices required for managing the Active Directory and the servers and services of the solution.

A trust relationship has been set between the resources forest to the corporate Active Directory forest and some other will be created towards the operating areas and vessels’ forests. In this scenario, the users start an interactive session in their own forest and open their email without having to type additional users’ credentials.

A servers capacity planning has been done to ensure they can provision up to 75,000 email and messaging accounts, along with other 20,000 resource inboxes to provide multiple users access to generic Exchange mailboxes (a typical example of department inbox). This design follows these guidelines:

-It is absolutely redundant and hardware fault-tolerant

-It is fault-tolerant at a local level, that is, the destruction of a single location does not impact its local mailboxes since they are centrally stored at CCEA (both in their Exploitation Center and in a backup datacenter)

-The CCEA is fault-tolerant as well: the system has been designed to avoid loss of information even in the case a CPD (main or backup) is destroyed

-It scales horizontally (it is capable to grow in the number of servers on demand).

The implementation of this solution, given the big scale of the migration, is being conducted gradually and it is not expected to be completed before the summer of 2012. They have currently migrated over 40,000 mailboxes with all the information contained into them. The migration is expected to be completed by June of 2012.

Regarding the training of the users, Colonel Juan Sánchez Velasco, Head of the CEAA (Centro Corporativo de Explotación y Apoyo) at the Ministry, remarks its ease of use: “We really don’t need to provide specific courses to educate the users on how to use Outlook in general, and they do not only have any problem in their daily activities, but they even welcome the new functionalities they can use”.

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* Without the help of Microsoft professionals it would be impossible to accomplish this project in the way we did *

Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Marco Chao,
Technical Project Manager

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Thinking ahead, the Ministry managers see clearly that they will keep using the Cloud Computing model. “These early services that are being provided under the Cloud model will tend to increase and extend to other platforms and applications. In many cases we expect these cloud services will add to the capabilities offered by the application and desktop virtualization, they will be very commonly used in our intranet in the future and possibly between the different Government administrations and agencies”.

In this respect, Colonel Piñol states that, although the Ministry of Defense has to carefully watch the evolution of technology market without discarding any of the options it offers, “the excellent work relationships between the Ministry and Microsoft technicians, along with the good results their products are providing and the economical balance they are achieving, all these factors are making it possible for us to work in a mutual confidence and excellent collaboration environment which anticipates the continuity of the Agreement signed with Microsoft” and positions Microsoft as a solid technology partner for the years to come.

Benefits

Lastly, the technology program manager, Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Marco Chao, in charge of the messaging platform in the Ministry highlight the services offered by the solution, which he considers as excellent: “Without the help of Microsoft professionals this would be impossible to accomplish this project in the way we did”, he comments.

The main benefits of this solution are:

Reduced licensing costs.

Centralized exploitation services

Reduction of hardware expenses thanks to their cloud centralized solution.

Increased usability and an easier user access.

A lighter workplace.

Reduction of the power consumption and carbon footprint

Ease of Use of the products, with minimal training efforts.

Increased service availability.

Savings in storage and increased control over the information storage and security.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

In a time when your organization requires its communication tools to be cost-effective and flexible, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 enables you to achieve new levels of reliability and performance by delivering features that simplify your administration, help protect your communications, and delight your users by meeting their demands for greater business mobility. Microsoft Exchange, the cornerstone of Microsoft’s unified communications solution, has long been the choice of organizations like yours to enable rich and productive collaboration among its users. The latest release of Exchange can help you achieve better business outcomes while controlling the costs of deployment, administration, and compliance. Exchange delivers the widest range of deployment options, integrated information leakage protection, and advanced compliance capabilities, that combine to form the best messaging and collaboration solution available..

If you want more information about Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, visit the web: www.microsoft.com/exchange

If you want to learn more about Microsoft Unified Communications, please visit:

www.microsoft.com/uc

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



Organization Size: 35700 employees

Organization Profile
The Ministry of Defense is the department in the State General Administration in charge of preparing, developing and executing the policy of defense determined by the Government.

Solution
They implemented Microsoft Exchange in a private cloud model (30,000 seats for the first stage but they expect to reach 75,000 seats).

Benefits
Lower licensing costs Reduced hardware investments Increased availability Greater usability. Centralized services

Software and Services
Microsoft Exchange

Vertical Industries
  • Public Sector
  • Public Safety & Justice

Country/Region
Spain

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Quest Software Spain

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