Axept Webcall is a division of Swisscom, the largest telecommunications company in Switzerland. It provides engineering and operation services and specializes in Microsoft unified communications and collaboration solutions. Axept Webcall recently
deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 on-premises to provide updated messaging capabilities to its employees. As a result, it improved its high availability configuration and enhanced communications.
Axept Webcall, a division of Swisscom and a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with multiple Gold competencies, specializes in the deployment and operation of Microsoft unified communications and collaboration solutions. In addition to deploying
solutions at customer locations, the organization also offers cloud-based solutions.
Because Axept Webcall lends its expertise to customers, it is important for the organization to ensure that its own internal solutions are up-to-date. By having access to the latest technologies, Axept Webcall employees can better understand the product
capabilities and experience the benefits that customers will receive.
||We will set up a site mailbox for each project that employees and customers can access from Outlook or SharePoint. The site mailboxes will help improve project visibility and reduce the number of attachments that we send through email.
| Werner Helbig
Director of ICT, Axept Webcall
For email, Axept Webcall used a solution based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. It deployed two mailbox servers with local storage and used a database availability group to maintain duplicate databases on the servers. It benefited from many of the capabilities
of Exchange Server 2010, such as voice mail with Exchange Unified Messaging, archiving and retention policies to limit mailbox sizes, and Exchange federation to share calendar information with other Swisscom divisions.
Although the solution worked great, Axept Webcall was ready to upgrade to Exchange Server 2013 when it became available. To ensure that employees always have access to email, it wanted to deploy Exchange Server at its two branch locations in addition to
its primary data center to provide additional failover capabilities. It also wanted to take advantage of the improved interoperation with Microsoft Lync Server 2013 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013.
Axept Webcall deployed Exchange Server 2013 at three sites to provide high availability and geographic redundancy. A database availability group maintains copies of the mailbox database at each site, and if a mailbox server is ever lost, another mailbox
server takes over without affecting employee productivity. Axept Webcall used scripts built with the Windows PowerShell command-line interface to move employee mailboxes. For other tasks, administrators can easily manage Exchange Server through the web-based
Exchange Administration Center, especially from a tablet or while working from home.
Axept Webcall used the Hyper-V technology in the Windows Server 2012 operating system to virtualize all of the server roles. “Hyper-V is a great virtualization solution that we recommend for all of our customers’ Exchange Server and Lync Server deployments,”
says Werner Helbig, Director of ICT at Axept Webcall.
To run Exchange Server 2013 in a virtualized environment, Axept Webcall uses a network-attached storage (NAS) solution. It is able to use low-cost drives in the NAS due to the 50 percent IOPS (I/O operations per second) reduction from Exchange Server 2010.
“Since we moved to a lower-cost storage solution, we now have no mailbox size restrictions for employees,” says Helbig.
Axept Webcall set up Exchange Unified Messaging to provide voice mail for all employees. Exchange Unified Messaging works with Lync Server 2013 to deliver voice-mail messages directly to employees’ inboxes. Employees can access voice mail through the Lync
2013 desktop client, the Microsoft Outlook 2013 messaging and collaboration client, or Outlook Web App in Exchange Server 2013.
Axept Webcall is also testing site mailboxes, which associate an Exchange mailbox with a SharePoint site so that employees can access up-to-date SharePoint and Exchange content from Outlook. They are ideal for the organization’s project teams to share information
internally and with customers.
All employees now use Outlook 2013 to access their email. They also use Outlook Web App to access their email from a browser. Outlook Web App delivers a similar look and feel to Outlook 2013 and works well with touch-screen devices.
Axept Webcall made a rapid and successful transition to Exchange Server 2013. Since the upgrade, employees have become familiar with the enhanced messaging and collaboration capabilities so that they can more effectively serve customers. Exchange 2013
has proven easier to manage, while providing employees with new ways to collaborate.
Improved collaboration. Site mailboxes provide an effective way for project teams at Axept Webcall to share documents and email messages. “We will set up a site mailbox for each project that employees and customers can access from Outlook
or SharePoint. The site mailboxes will help improve project visibility and reduce the number of attachments that we send through email,” says Helbig.
High availability. Axept Webcall added geographic redundancy to its Exchange Server 2013 deployment by using database availability groups to maintain mailbox servers at three separate locations. “We need to have email available for our employees
at all times. Using a database availability group to have email servers at multiple locations gives us confidence in the solution,” says Helbig.
Low costs. Because Axept Webcall used Hyper-V to virtualize its messaging environment, it was able to deploy Exchange Server at multiple locations without needing to purchase additional hardware. It also took advantage of the more efficient
use of I/O by Exchange Server 2013 to move to a lower-cost storage solution and remove mailbox size restrictions.
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