4-page Case Study - Posted 6/26/2012
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Central Prison Service Authority

Central Board of Prison Service moved the Public Information Bulletin 188 of the platform PHP 4 for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

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* As in case of many other public administration units, our first system for the management of the Public Information Newsletters was a testing ground that helped us gain necessary experience in the area of processes and technology. Armed with this knowledge, we could order and implement a much more mature and convenient solution based on Microsoft SharePoint Server *

Andrzej Pawlak
IT&C Manager, Central Prison Service Authority

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The Central Prison Service Authority (CZSW) supervises penitentiary institutions and detention centers. Each of the 188 units enjoys a significant level of organizational independence. According to the law, the highly independent Prison Service units must maintain their own Public Information Newsletters (BIPs). However, since the development of an independent BIP system for each unit is not economically feasible, all newsletters are maintained on a central platform managed by CZSW’s Information Technology and Communication Department.

The first BIP platform for the Prison Service units was established in 2004. For this, CZSW chose the popular PHP web technology. The content management system met the expectations of CZSW, but the management of authorizations turned out to be very laborconsuming.

“At the majority of units, at least two persons are authorized to publish information in the newsletter. It means that we have more than 300 people with administrator rights that must be managed. Most PHP-based CMSs did not enable convenient management of such a tree. As a result, the IT Department spent an excessive amount of time on the administration of the BIP platform”, says lt. Tomasz Szczepocki, IT Specialist, Information Technology and Communication Department, CZSW.

The labor-consuming maintenance of the PHP-based BIP system and other problems with revisions of the published content have encouraged the CZSW to migrate to a new system based on the Microsoft SharePoint platform. The original 2007 release has been recently upgraded to the latest SharePoint Server 2010 release.

“SharePoint is closely linked to the Active Directory services embedded in the Windows Server platform. It helps us to easily and precisely manage the rights of BIP administrators from all 188 Prison Service units. At the same time, we benefit from a platform that provides us with a large majority of required publishing functionalities available as out-of-box features”, says Tomasz Szczepocki.
The CZSW, encouraged by the convenient management of users and other resources, is considering the migration of other applications to the SharePoint environment as well. For example, the platform will be used in the planned intranet implementation.

The CZSW, encouraged by the convenient management of users and other resources, is con-sidering the migration of other applications to the SharePoint environment as well. For example, the platform will be used in the planned intranet implementation.

Situation

The Central Prison Service Authority (CZSW) supervises penitentiary institutions and detention centers. Each of the 188 units enjoys a significant level of organizational independence.
According to the law, each of the highly independent Prison Service units should maintain their own Public Information Newsletters (BIPs). However, since the development of an independent BIP system for each unit is not economically feasible, all newsletters are maintained on a central platform managed by the Information Technology and Communication Department of CZSW.

The platform for the management of CZSW Newsletters has evolved over years. The first BIP platform for the Prison Service units was established in 2004. For this, CZSW chose the popular PHP web technology. The system for management of con-tent approval and publishing worked well but the management of authorizations turned out to be surprisingly labor-consuming.

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* The original PHP-based BIP platform deployed at CZSW did not support automatic registration of subsequent re-visions of published content. It was both a compliance prob-lem and a practical challenge: for example, when changes had to be cancelled, it had to be done manually, usually by an employee of the IT&C Department *

Tomasz Szczepocki
IT Specialist, Information Technology and Communication Department, CZSW

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* Although the technology platform was completely dif-ferent, we wanted to maintain the procedures worked out during the use of the PHP-based solution. We managed to reconstruct the functionalities of the existing system almost without asking the pro-grammers for support. With SharePoint, we could launch the large majority of functions available in the PHP solution created for us by an external company with our own resources and no programming *

Andrzej Pawlak
Information Technology and Communications Manager, CZSW

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“At the majority of units, at least two persons are authorized to publish information in the newsletter. It means that we have more than 300 people with administrator rights that must be managed. Most PHP-based CMSs did not enable convenient management of such a tree. As a result, the IT Department spent an excessive amount of time on the administration of the BIP platform”, says lt. Tomasz Szczepocki, IT Specialist, Information Technology and Communication Department, CZSW.

Problems with the management of the PHP-based BIP platform coincided with an audit of the BIP system carried out by an internal unit of CZSW working together with external experts. In the post-audit report, it was recommended that the implemented solution should be equipped with more efficient mechanisms for control-ling and tracing amendments made to the published content.

”The original PHP-based BIP platform deployed at CZSW did not support automatic registration of subsequent revisions of published content. It was both a compliance problem and a practical challenge: for example, when changes had to be cancelled, it had to be done manually, usually by an employee of the IT&C Department”, says lt. Tomasz Szczepocki.

The case of CZSW was not unique. During the early years of the Public Information Newsletters, the entire Polish ad-ministration had to learn formal publishing of information in the Internet and gain experience in the area of technical support of relevant systems.

“As in case of many other public administration units, our first system for the management of the Public Information Newsletters was a testing ground that helped us gain necessary experience in the area of processes and technology. Armed with this knowledge, we could order and implement a much more mature and convenient solution based on Microsoft SharePoint Server”, comments Andrzej Pawlak, Information Technology and Communication Manager, Central Prison Service Authority.

Solution
Simple management of rights

We chose Microsoft SharePoint Server mainly because it addressed our need to streamline the management of rights of distributed administrators

“SharePoint is closely linked to the Active Directory services embedded in the Windows Server platform. It helps us to easily and precisely manage the rights of BIP administrators from all 188 Prison Service units. At the same time, we benefit from a platform that provides us with a large majority of required publishing functionalities available as out-of-box features”, says Tomasz Szczepocki.

CMS – configuration instead of imple-mentation

The mechanism of content approval and publishing (a functionality commonly known as CMS, or the Content Management System) crucial for the operation of the Public Information Newsletter system did not require implementation, but a rather simple configuration of ready-to-use features.

“Although the technology platform was completely different, we wanted to maintain the procedures worked out during the use of the PHP-based solution. We managed to reconstruct the functionalities of the existing system almost without asking the program-mers for support. With SharePoint, we could launch the large majority of functions available in the PHP solution created for us by an external company with our own resources and no programming”, highlights Andrzej Pawlak.

In particular, the functions launched by the CZSW without the support from pro-grammers included registration of revisions of published content that required a dedicated module in the previous PHP solution.

Additional audit mini-module

Following the findings from the BIP audit, the standard revision management features available in SharePoint Server 2007 were extended with detailed registration of information concerning circumstances related to the introduction of changes.

“The revision management mechanism in SharePoint 2007 did not allow for easy audit of detailed information on who introduced what changes in a particular content revision. This small but very useful function – at least from our perspective – was developed for us by an external company in the .NET technology”, explains Tomasz Szczepocki.

Efficiency and reliability

The migration from SharePoint Server 2007 to the 2010 release took place at the beginning of 2011. It was an in-house project of CZSW implemented by the Information Technology and Communication Department. The new version was installed on the newest Windows Server platform, Windows Server 2008 R2.

The upgraded website was launched in virtual mode in the Hyper-V virtualization environment. On a separate machine within the same physical server, the SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition database batch was launched – independently of the database embedded in the SharePoint 2010 environment.

“The entire SharePoint environment together with the content bases of all 188 Prison Service units uses 10 GB of RAM and two physical processors on a machine with four 4-core processors and 16 GB of physical memory. The environment features excellent efficiency. Considering the utilization of the server resources, it seems very decent”
, says Tomasz Szczepocki.
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* The entire BIP environment – SharePoint with databases – is copied to a virtual container as a VHD file. After any fail-ure, complete restoration of the environment on any server should not take more than 30 minutes. It gives us confidence that our BIP environment is very secure *

Tomasz Szczepocki
IT Specialist, Information Technology and Communication Department, CZSW

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The CZSW decided not to invest in cluster solutions. Since its production launch, the SharePoint 2010 environment has been operating without fault.
In addition, the law permits 24-hour unavailability of the BIP system.

“The entire BIP environment – SharePoint with databases – is copied to a virtual container as a VHD file. After any failure, complete restoration of the environment on any server should not take more than 30 minutes. It gives us confidence that our BIP environment is very secure”, says Tomasz Szczepocki.

Application consolidation platform

The successful experience with the SharePoint platform has encouraged CZSW to considering it as an environment for the consolidation of applications. It has already been decided, for instance, that the intranet system designed by the Information Technology and Communication Department will be based on the existing SharePoint 2010 environment.

“We have acquired skills and experience in the design and maintenance of applications and services installed in the SharePoint environment. By introducing more applications to the environment, we will be able to significantly reduce application maintenance costs in the long term”, says Andrzej Pawlak.

Benefits

Implementation of the SharePoint Server 2007 and its 2010 evolution by CZSW as a platform for Public Information Newsletters at 188 Prison Service units has had long-term positive benefits

- The new environment has eliminated time-consuming management of rights of more than 300 local adminis-trators;

- With the SharePoint Server platform, CZSW can easily manage the revisions of published information and audit any amendments introduced to it;

- With the Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V platform virtualization tech-nology, CZSW benefits from an infra-structural environment that eliminates the need for multiplication of platforms to build traditional clusters.

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010 is a server product designed for easy creation of internal and public websites. It offers a wide range of ready-to-use features enabling – for example – creation, approval and publishing of content, carrying out business analyses and reporting, searching corporate networks for information and the development of departmental and personal websites. Office SharePoint Server 2010 is also a powerful and scalable platform for the development of business applications based on Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft .NET technologies. The Office SharePoint Server environment can be implemented at the client’s data center or as a web cloud service within Microsoft Office 365 services. For more information about Office SharePoint Server 2010, please go to:
http://office.microsoft.com/pl-pl/sharepoint-help/
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 30000 employees

Organization Profile
The Central Prison Service Authority manages penitentiary institutions and detention centers. The Authority employs over 30,000 people across Poland.

Business Situation
The Central Prison Service Authority (CZSW) manages a technology platform used by the Headquar-ters of the Central Authority and 187 units of the Service to publish the Public Information Newsletters (BIP), as required by the law. An internal audit of the BIP system revealed that the PHP-based platform operated by the CZSW was not fully compliant with regulatory requirements. In addition, there were problems managing the platform. This is why CZSW decided to move the BIPs to a new environment.

Solution
The new environment for BIPs is based on the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 platform that has been recently upgraded to the newest SharePoint Server 2010 release.

Benefits
• Easy management of authorizations for more than 300 local administrators
• Automated management of revisions of published information and easy audit of any amendments
• High availability with virtualization on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V platform
• Eliminates the need to multiply platforms in order to build traditional clusters

Hardware
• Fujitsu Server with four 4-core Intel Xeon processors and 16 GB of RAM

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Vertical Industries
Government

Country/Region
Poland

Business Need
  • Cost Containment
  • Enterprise Web and Search

IT Issue
  • Data Warehousing
  • Development
  • Virtualization

Languages
Polish

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