To ensure a smooth migration from its mainframe computer to an environment based on Microsoft products, Dutch vehicle registration agency RDW engaged Microsoft Services and contracted the Premier Mission Critical support offering. By doing so,
RDW greatly reduced the risks associated with a complex migration and gained access to dedicated Microsoft support and expertise. The new system saves RDW US$1.5 million a year and helps to improve transaction performance.
RDW registers all motorized vehicles in the Netherlands, issues driver’s licenses and license plates, and ensures that all vehicles on Dutch roads meet safety and environmental regulations. In 2010, RDW managed records for 12 million active vehicles,
11 million driver’s licenses, and 7 million environmental inspections. It also managed nearly 1.3 million information exchanges a day with Dutch police, insurance companies, municipalities, and other organizations.
For 30 years, RDW used a Unisys mainframe computer to complete all of these business-critical transactions. However, to reduce mainframe licensing costs and attract a new generation of IT professionals, RDW launched a project in 2006 to migrate to an environment
based on Microsoft products.
Migrating its business-critical workloads off the mainframe was a significant task that would take years and much planning. “This was a risky project with serious consequences for our agency and for Dutch citizens and police,” says Gerard Doll, Division
Manager, Information and Communications Technology at RDW. “We had to have a good understanding of how the migration was going to take place, obtain a precise risk analysis, and have round-the-clock support for our applications during the transition. Many
eyes were on this project.”
RDW turned to Microsoft Services for help. It already had a Microsoft Services Premier Support contract and, in years past, had used Microsoft Services for architectural and technical advice. “Microsoft Services was one of only a handful of providers
that was doing mainframe migrations,” says Gert-Jan Theuwissen, Manager of Cluster Continuity for RDW. “By engaging both Microsoft and Unisys, we had the assurance that both key vendors would be by our side.”
As part of the strategic planning process, RDW selected the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program to confirm the feasibility of migrating its mainframe workloads to a Microsoft environment and to design a strategy for doing so. Microsoft Services also held
a number of envisioning workshops with RDW business users and RDW technology architects.
Once RDW began designing the new environment, which it calls Winframe, it contracted Microsoft Premier Mission Critical to provide guidance and support. An extension of Microsoft Premier Support, Premier Mission Critical is a support program designed to
improve the availability of the most demanding and critical solutions. It provides design validation and architectural reviews, problem resolution and knowledge transfer from Microsoft engineers, and a dedicated support team. RDW staff designed and implemented
the Winframe environment, and the Microsoft Enterprise Architect conducted reviews of the logical, physical, and security architectures and created final documentation.
||“Microsoft Services greatly mitigated the risk of this major migration and helped us maintain uninterrupted availability of our systems during and after.”
| Gert-Jan Theuwissen
Manager of Cluster Continuity, RDW
The Winframe environment consists of 12 HP ProLiant application and database servers running the Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter operating system and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 data management software. RDW migrated nearly 10,000 mainframe applications
with applications or scripts written in the Windows PowerShell command-line interface and scripting language and using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.
During the phased migration, RDW created a bridge between the mainframe and the Winframe environment so that the two systems worked together and gradually moved workloads from the old environment to the new one in a controller manner. By July 2010, all transactions
were running in the Winframe environment. Premier Mission Critical support engineers were available on December 28, 2011, when RDW turned off the mainframe.
Even after the successful cutover from the mainframe to the Microsoft environment, Premier Mission Critical support engineers continued to help RDW optimize the performance of the new environment and ensure uninterrupted operation.
By using Microsoft Services to help plan and support its mainframe migration, RDW reduced the risks that can accompany mainframe migrations, gained access to dedicated support and expertise, and quickly accomplished the cutover. RDW saves US$1.5 million
a year with the new system and has dramatically improved transaction performance.
Reduced Risk Associated with Mainframe Migration
By using the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program and Premier Mission Critical, RDW reduced the risks associated with a business-critical migration. “Microsoft Services mitigated the risk of this major migration and helped us maintain uninterrupted
availability of our systems during and after,” Theuwissen says. “Premier Mission Critical was ideal for our needs; it gave us continual support and 99.9 percent availability.”
Gained Access to Dedicated Support
RDW also benefitted from Microsoft best practices and support. “Our IT staff understood how to manage a mainframe environment but not how to manage a Microsoft environment,” Doll says. “Microsoft Services taught us that. We have some of the best IT professionals
in the Netherlands, and they commented repeatedly on how smart the Microsoft consultants were.”
Achieved Rapid Cutover from Mainframe
RDW planned for its services to be unavailable for two days during the cutover to the Winframe environment, but thanks to the great teamwork between RDW staff and Microsoft, RDW accomplished the cutover in less time. “A faster cutover meant that our
customers could resume their activities one day ahead of schedule: garages could do environmental tests, citizens could get their driver’s licenses, and the police could check license plates,” Doll says.
Saved $1.5 Million Annually, Improved Performance
RDW will save approximately $1.5 million a year on mainframe licensing costs. The Winframe environment is as stable as the mainframe environment and much faster. It has an average transaction time of 80 milliseconds, compared to an average of 300 milliseconds
on the mainframe.
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and optimize our technologies. They also work closely with Microsoft Partners by sharing their technological expertise and product knowledge on a regular basis.
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