As the administrative authority for the District of Landshut in Lower Bavaria, Germany, Landratsamt Landshut manages public services for its 150,000 citizens through its Landshut headquarters and eight branch offices. To streamline IT management and help ensure reliable access to its systems for its employees and the general public, the district standardized on Microsoft® software. To maximize the value of that software, the district signed a Microsoft Volume Licensing Enterprise Agreement to take advantage of volume savings, a predictable annual license cost per desktop, streamlined license management, and Software Assurance benefits. By upgrading to new versions of covered software as soon as they become available, including Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V virtualization, the district also benefits from increased system reliability and security and reduced energy costs.
Landratsamt Landshut is the administrative authority for Landkreis Landshut (the District of Landshut) in Lower Bavaria, Germany. The district is home to about 150,000 residents in 35 communities. Many of those citizens work in the nearby BMW factories, for a variety of small businesses and high tech firms, or commute to Munich, about an hour away.
The district is governed by a district council that administers a range of public services including healthcare; education; waste disposal; public safety; and construction and maintenance of roads, hospitals, and schools. Landratsamt Landshut has 300 employees distributed over nine locations—the headquarters in the city of Landshut and eight branch offices.
With workers and computers spread across almost 1,350 square kilometers, and only five IT staff, the district authority needs its network infrastructure to be stable, reliable, and easy to administer remotely. It also needs to provide employees with secure access to business applications, and provide citizens with an easy way to handle many tasks online, such as ordering medical prescriptions and vehicle license plates, and applying for jobs.
||If we hadn’t had the Step-Up License through the Enterprise Agreement, we would not have been able to deploy Windows Server 2008 Datacenter with Hyper-V so early, and so we would have delayed benefiting from the energy cost savings.
IT Manager, Landratsamt Landshut
By 2004, Landratsamt Landshut was running most of its applications on the Windows Server® 2003 operating system; however, it was using two different database solutions to support those applications. It used an Oracle database running on UNIX to support most of its line-of-business applications. And it used Microsoft® SQL Server® 2000 data management software running on Windows Server 2003 to support a few applications such as its content management system and a public health department application that wouldn’t work with the Oracle database.
This setup required two different database administrators, which was costly. Also, the district found that applying security updates to the Oracle database was much more time-consuming than updating the SQL Server database. The district’s IT administrators wanted to reduce the cost of maintaining and managing the infrastructure, while offering its employees and constituents easy access to reliable, high-performance systems. “We wanted to consolidate everything to Windows Server and SQL Server 2005 so that we would not need multiple sets of expertise and we could gain detailed knowledge of the system that remained,” says Bernhard Wiedemann, IT Manager, Landratsamt Landshut.
The district had been acquiring its Microsoft software licenses through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Select License program that allowed it to acquire Microsoft technology on a pay-as-you-go basis. This worked initially, but as the organization deployed more and more Microsoft technologies, it wanted to simplify license management and be able to better predict its software costs. So, in 2004, Landratsamt Landshut signed a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that provided:
–A fixed annual price per desktop at a savings for volume purchasing.
–The rights to deploy new versions of Microsoft software (and also to downgrade to an earlier version, if needed).
–Software Assurance that provides new version rights, Home Use privileges, and training and technical support benefits.Solution
In 2007, the district decided to renew its Enterprise Agreement and to standardize on Microsoft software. It runs Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 communications and collaboration software on the server side, and the Windows® XP desktop operating system and Microsoft Office Professional 2003 on the client side. “With Microsoft software we have an integrated environment from the servers to the desktops, which is critical for an organization like ours with a small IT staff,” says Wiedemann. Predictable Budgeting
With the Enterprise Agreement the district can easily track and manage all its Microsoft software licenses through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) Web site, and there are no surprise costs when it needs to add users or upgrade versions or editions of its software. For example, when the district decided to replace its Oracle database with SQL Server 2005 data management software, it used the new version rights provided by its Enterprise Agreement Software Assurance benefits to upgrade its SQL Server 2000 licenses to SQL Server 2005. “Since we already had licenses for SQL Server 2000 through the Enterprise Agreement, we were able to upgrade to SQL Server 2005 without additional licensing cost,” says Wiedemann.
Then, in 2008, the district took advantage of the Step-Up License, which allowed it to upgrade some of its Windows Server 2008 Standard licenses to Windows Server 2008 Datacenter licenses. The Step-Up License allows the district to migrate from a lower-level software edition to a higher-level edition of certain products without incurring the full cost of licensing two separate editions. Built-in Virtualization
Landratsamt Landshut uses the Hyper-V™ technology included with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter to host 23 virtual machines on 5 new HP ProLiant Blade Servers. Most of the infrastructure—including domain controllers, file services, Exchange Server 2007, and SQL Server 2005— and departmental applications run on the virtual servers. The district retained 10 of the original physical servers to handle backup, archiving, management, and firewall applications. As a result, the district reduced its total number of physical servers from 25 to 15. “We decided to virtualize the majority of our servers to increase availability while reducing the number of physical servers we had to manage,” says Wiedemann. “We chose Hyper-V because it provided the power and performance we need and offered significantly lower licensing costs than VMware.” This move also helps reduce energy costs and physical space requirements because the higher-end servers hosting multiple virtual servers use less power than the equivalent number of physical servers. Training and Support Benefits
Landratsamt Landshut also takes full advantage of other Software Assurance benefits, such as permission to give employees licensed Microsoft software to use at home, and training and technical support. “We use Software Assurance Training Vouchers with our partner Applied Intelligence to help the administrators get familiar with the new server products that we deploy,” says Wiedemann. The district uses Microsoft TechNet Web–based support, as well, to help its IT staff sharpen technical skills, resolve mission-critical and day-to-day issues, and evaluate new Microsoft technologies. Some of the district employees also use Microsoft E-Learning training to gain proficiency with Microsoft Office programs. Integrated Administration Tools
The district’s 300 workstations and 20 portable computers run Windows XP Professional SP3. Administrators manage these client computers remotely from Landratsamt Landshut headquarters using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services.
The administrators handle the daily server administration tasks, as well, using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 for the physical servers and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 for the virtual servers. The district’s partner Applied Intelligence—a Microsoft Certified Partner—provides mission-critical support. “We’ve integrated our Microsoft System Center Operations Manager system with our partner so their administrators can view our monitoring data and react proactively if they see a problem,” says Wiedemann.
In addition, the district uses System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 to back up its virtual servers to integrated disk and tape media.Benefits
By signing a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, Landratsamt Landshut gained immediate access to new software versions at a predictable price and reduced license management time. The benefits of the agreement also made it easier for the district to standardize on Microsoft software, which helped to increase the reliability and security of its network. In addition, the Step-Up License made it more cost effective for the district to proceed with its server virtualization project that has led to increased performance and reduced energy costs.
Immediate Access to Software at a Predictable Price
||By only having to order additional licenses once a year rather than every time we add a desktop or server computer, we save a significant amount of license management time.
IT Manager, Landratsamt Landshut
Because the cost of Microsoft software upgrades are included in the Enterprise Agreement through Software Assurance, Landratsamt Landshut can implement new technologies sooner than if it had to negotiate a new agreement for every upgrade. “As a government organization, our budget is set for the year, so being able to accurately predict our license costs and still upgrade to new products as they are released is a huge benefit,” says Wiedemann. “For example, if we hadn’t had the Step-Up License through the Enterprise Agreement, we would not have been able to deploy Windows Server 2008 Datacenter with Hyper-V so early, and so we would have delayed benefiting from the energy cost savings and the increased network performance.”Enhanced System Reliability and Security
Maintaining consistent software across the organization helps the district increase reliability and security, because it only has to update one set of products. “Although our business is public administration and not a competitive market, it is still important for us to have up-to-date technology so that we can efficiently serve our constituents,” says Wiedemann. “Our Enterprise Agreement helps us keep our systems up to date, which helps us maintain a stable IT environment. For example, we enhanced database security by consolidating all of our databases on SQL Server 2005, which we find much easier to keep updated than Oracle was.” Reduced License Management Time
Because new version upgrades for covered software are included under the Enterprise Agreement Software Assurance benefits, the district no longer has to track software versions. It simply runs a True-Up assessment to inventory its hardware at the end of each year and then determines if it needs to add licenses to its agreement. If it adds computers during the year, the licenses for those additions are immediately covered under the agreement at the same price per desktop as those enrolled at the beginning of the agreement term. “By only having to order additional licenses once a year rather than every time we add a desktop or server computer, we save a significant amount of license management time,” says Wiedemann.
The district also saves licensing time with the Microsoft VLSC Web site, where it can download licensed products, access product keys, manage its licensing agreements and license acquisition activity, and access Software Assurance benefits. Lower Energy Costs
Deploying Windows Server 2008 Datacenter with Hyper-V made it possible for Landratsamt Landshut to reduce the number physical servers from 25 to 15, and as a result helped reduce data center energy costs. In addition, the five new high-end servers that host 23 virtual servers on Hyper V are more energy efficient, which helps to further reduce the district’s energy costs.
Microsoft Volume Licensing
Microsoft® Volume Licensing offers customized programs that are designed to meet the needs of your business. Tailored for companies of different sizes and purchasing preferences, these Volume Licensing programs provide simple, flexible, and affordable solutions that can help you manage your licenses with ease. Whether you have five or thousands of desktop PCs, Microsoft Volume Licensing has the right program for you. To acquire the latest Microsoft technology at a significant cost savings through Microsoft Volume Licensing, contact your Microsoft Partner or local reseller.
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