University of Houston Provides Fast, Reliable with Remote Access Capabilities

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1 Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Customer Solution Case Study University of Houston Provides Fast, Reliable with Remote Access Capabilities Overview Country: United States Industry: Education Customer Profile With approximately 40,000 students, staff, and faculty, the University of Houston is one of the nation s major research institutions. Located in a major urban center in Texas, the campus is integrated into the community. Business Situation The University of Houston needed to upgrade its Microsoft Exchange 5.5 based servers to provide fast remote e- mail access to faculty and staff while also consolidating its server infrastructure. Solution To increase mobile access and consolidate servers, UH upgraded to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 synchronized with Windows MobileTM-based devices and Office Outlook Benefits Provides mobile access anytime, anywhere Offers a scalable solution Consolidates servers, reducing costs Saves time for faculty and IT staff Requires minimal training The mobility features allow faculty and staff to easily check and calendars from off-campus locations. We are very pleased with the faster response time on the mobile devices from minutes to seconds to receive . Charles Shomper, Vice President, Information Technology, University of Houston Faculty and staff at the University of Houston (UH) work in a major urban research university. They move and work throughout the campus and the community. Because they spend a significant amount of time off campus, they rely on to stay in touch with other faculty, staff and students. The university needed a faster way to connect employees from several locations. Working with Avanade, UH implemented Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on Windows Server 2003 and Office Outlook Staff and faculty can use Windows-powered mobile devices, such as Pocket PC, to synchronize messages, calendar, and contact lists directly with Exchange The 5,000 employees now have access to anytime, anywhere mobile access to receive more quickly. The solution is scalable enough to provide future mobile support to 50,000 users, including students. Exchange 2003 also provided UH with the opportunity to consolidate servers, which resulted in large cost savings by operating on fewer servers.

2 With Exchange 2003, the University of Houston consolidated its servers and still has the flexibility to scale up the system and extend mobility in the future to students very quickly and with little pain. Scott Rodgers, Senior Architect, Avanade Situation Universities today are seeking new ways to reach out to faculty and students who work or live off campus. The University of Houston (UH) needed to provide fast, reliable mobile access to its 5,000 faculty members, administrators, and support staff. In the future, UH wants to extend its mobility system to 50,000 users, including students. We re building an excellent wireless network on campus, but it isn t going help people when they working from home, says Charles Shomper, Vice President of Information Technology. We need to have mobility that will enable faculty, staff, and students to have excellent mobile communications to send , schedule meetings, and receive notifications. The university also wanted to upgrade its e- mail infrastructure that was based on two different environments a legacy Unix/POP3 system and Microsoft Exchange 5.5 running on Windows NT operating system version 4.0 with about 160 domains across campus. Some of the domains were supported by the university s IT department, and the rest were supported by different divisions at each of the four campuses. IT administrators found it hard to update user account information that was scattered in different directories in numerous domains and managed from different locations. As a result, UH faced high costs to manage and maintain the infrastructure, and customer support was difficult and time consuming. With so many systems, it was hard to keep track of where specific user account information was stored, says Associate Vice President Dennis Fouty. One of our goals was to make sense of the infrastructure and simplify our system for higher reliability, availability, manageability, and scalability all of those abilities. Solution In December 2002, the University of Houston contemplated an upgrade to Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server from Exchange 5.5. But after meeting with Microsoft and Avanade, a technology integrator for Microsoft solutions, university officials changed their minds. It became obvious that the right thing to do was to leapfrog the 2000 environment and move right to the enhanced Exchange 2003, Shomper says. With help from Avanade and Hewlett- Packard, the university began a pilot project in May 2003 and established a weekly deployment schedule to ensure smooth migration and to help measure results effectively. By October 2003, 1,200 mailboxes were upgraded to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 running on the Windows ServerTM 2003 operating system, the foundation of Windows Server SystemTM. The university expects to complete deployment to all 5,000 of its mailboxes by the end of December 2003, at which time UH also plans to finish converting all Windows NT 4.0 domains to Windows Server The mobility solution includes the familiar user interface of the Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 messaging and collaboration client. For users accessing their remotely, Exchange ActiveSync ensures even higher levels of security and the ability to synchronize directly with Exchange 2003 through Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs. The university opted to use Hitachi G1000 mobile devices with Sprint as the carrier. Participants in the pilot project also used the Exchange 2003 RPC over HTTP feature that does not require a separate virtual private network (VPN) for clients to securely access their mail. This feature also eliminates the need for users to remember server information in order to access their mailboxes.

3 Feedback has been very positive and the migration of mailboxes to the 2003 environment was seamless. The Outlook desktop program and Outlook Web Access are almost identical, so there wasn t a learning curve for users. Fran Beach, Manager, Enterprise Computing After the university completes its server consolidation, the new infrastructure will run on a single, three-node cluster of HP ProLiant DL580 G2 servers linked to an HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array 3000 storage area network. A four-node cluster of HP ProLiant DL380 G3 clients will operate the front end. The single-clustered environment replaces four separate exchange environments two clusters and two stand-alone servers). This platform supports 5,000 faculty and staff, with the ability to add more servers in the future to provide mobility access for students, says Fran Beach, UH Manager of Enterprise Computing Systems. The solution also allows for the integration of the Exchange directory with Active Directory to keep better administer user account information, Fouty adds. Microsoft Active Directory directory service simplifies the administration of complex network directories. Exchange 2003 offers new tools to help the migration from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange Benefits Migrating to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 provides the University of Houston with numerous benefits including a wide range of mobility services with expansion capabilities, server consolidation, and reduced costs. Staff and faculty can stay connected whenever they need to and wherever they re located, so it s a better customer experience, says Beach. We also are pleased with our transition to Exchange 2003, which is much more reliable and scalable than our previous infrastructure, she adds. The overall performance of the system has improved enormously. The integration of Exchange with Active Directory enables single-instance updates to user account information from official university data sources, which reduces administrative management and leads to lower costs. Mobile Access Anytime, Anywhere With several computer labs on campus, along with a wireless system, faculty and staff easily can access their inbox, calendar, and contacts through Outlook Web Access, a feature of Exchange With Outlook Web Access, users can have secure Web access to their information from any computer with an Internet connection. In addition, faculty and staff who spend a significant amount of time working from offcampus locations can connect from anywhere at anytime because Exchange 2003 supports direct synchronization to a variety of mobile devices that connect with the Internet. The improved mobility features also allow IT staff to easily access supportrelated messages. This provides faster problem resolution and improves response times to faculty and other staff. The enhanced mobility features allow faculty and staff to easily check and calendars from off-campus locations, says Shomper. We are very pleased with the faster response time on the mobile devices from minutes to seconds to receive . In addition, users did not require training thanks to the familiar interface. Feedback has been very positive and the migration of mailboxes to the 2003 environment was seamless. The Outlook desktop program and Outlook Web Access are almost identical, so there wasn t a learning curve for our users. Future Mobile Access for Students Because Exchange 2003 offers the option to add servers and increase storage space, UH anticipates it will be easy to expand the solution to support mobile access for students. Avanade Senior Architect Scott Rodgers says, With Exchange 2003, the

4 University of Houston consolidated its servers and still has the flexibility to scale up the system and extend mobility in the future to students very quickly and with little pain. Reduced Costs and Increased Productivity By reducing software, maintenance, and other costs associated with site and server consolidation, the IT department spends less time on server management. The result is increased productivity and efficiency, which decreases costs. Exchange 2003 allows us to maintain more mailboxes with less effort and more reliability, Beach says. We implemented more hardware in our new Exchange 2003 environment than in our Exchange 5.5 environment, but we have fewer systems to manage and maintain. The additional hardware will assist with redundancy, which further reduces the amount of time our IT administrators need to spend responding to system problems. business processes. Shomper says, From all indications, it looks like it would be a very beneficial tool. In the future, UH wants to recommend a specific mobile device for students to send e- mail, receive notifications, and access the Internet. Shomper says, Most students have a cell phone, so the Windows MobileTM based Smartphone might be the way to go. We re continuing our research with an eye to the future. The 2003 environment really positions us well to move forward with our strategic mobility goals, Fouty says. That s been a strategic direction for the university for many years. From the standpoint of both scalability and functionality, Exchange 2003 will enable us to move forward to realize that vision. Enhanced Security and Improved Customer Service Windows Server 2003 is more secure than its predecessors and therefore provides a more secure platform for Exchange In addition, many of the technologies in Exchange 2003 enhance the security of the UH mail environment. For example, the RPC/HTTP feature provides built-in security for clients that do not use VPN services to connect to mailboxes. This benefit gives administrators the ability to remotely respond to server issues, improving customer service. Moving Forward with Strategic Goals The University of Houston is considering the use of Microsoft Operations Manager and the Exchange 2003 Management Pack to proactively monitor and manage Exchange for high uptime and reliability. The university also is investigating a Microsoft Office SharePointTM Portal Server 2003 solution to leverage relevant information across

5 For More Information For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) Customers who are deaf or hard-ofhearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) in the United States or (905) in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: For more information about Avanade products and services, call (206) or visit the Web site at: For more information about University of Houston, call (713) or visit the Web site at: Microsoft Windows Server System Microsoft Windows Server SystemTM is a comprehensive, integrated, and interoperable server infrastructure that helps reduce the complexity and costs of building, deploying, connecting, and operating agile business solutions. Windows Server System helps customers create new value for their business through the strategic use of their IT assets. With the Windows ServerTM operating system as its foundation, Windows Server System delivers dependable infrastructure for data management and analysis; enterprise integration; customer, partner, and employee portals; business process automation; communications and collaboration; and core IT operations including security, deployment, and systems management. For more information about Windows Server System, go to: Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft, Active Directory, ActiveSync, Outlook, SharePoint, Windows, the Windows logo, Windows Server, and Windows Server System are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Document published October 2003 Software and Services Products Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Microsoft Windows Mobile software for Pocket PCs Hardware HP ProLiant DL580 G2 servers HP ProLiant DL380 G3 servers HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array 3000 storage area network Hitachi G1000 mobile devices Partners Avanade Sprint PCS Hewlett Packard

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