Bidwells – Exchange 2010

Bidwells is a multi-disciplined Firm of property consultants who combine deep market knowledge and expertise with great understanding of clients’ objectives. This helps the Firm focus on the clients’ goals – be it wealth retention or wealth creation.

The Firm was established in 1840 and now provides services for the three main property sectors – Commercial, Residential and Rural. Bidwells is the UK’s leading regional property consultancy and the 420 strong Firm is ranked in the top 20 of the independent Estates Gazette top agents listings.

Acknowledged as regional experts, Bidwells has a detailed understanding of local market conditions and regular research publications are provided to enhance the service to clients. The Firm places a unique emphasis on forming and delivering innovative property strategies to deliver beyond clients expectations

The Challenge

Bidwells were running a Novell GroupWise messaging system that had served the business well for many years. Despite this, Bidwells had recently implemented a new SharePoint Document Management System and required seamless integration between it and email. In addition Bidwells was getting ever increasing demand to integrate new smartphones such as iPhones and other applications that didn’t integrate easily with GroupWise. Coupled with this the roadmap for GroupWise from Novell was unclear and as all other Novell systems had already been migrated to a Microsoft solution the decision was made to implement Microsoft Exchange.

Choosing the Right Partner

Bidwells wanted to implement Microsoft Exchange 2010 using an Active-Active DAG Configuration across 4 different physical sites. Exchange 2010 was relatively new at the time and Bidwells were looking for an organisation that not only had a good understanding of migrations from GroupWise but also needed a partner that was used to implementing bleeding edge technology. Next Dimension was able to offer the most highly accredited and experienced staff while as a lean organisation could still offer very attractive day rates.

The Solution

Next Dimension was asked to design and build an Exchange 2010 infrastructure that would not only provide a highly available messaging and collaboration system at Bidwells’ headquarters but could also sustain database failover between Bidwells’ remote offices. Six mailbox servers were commissioned in an Active-Active Database Availability Group (DAG).

Next Dimension performed a series of workshops alongside Bidwells’ IT staff to discuss all aspects and requirements of the new messaging system. Once a clear picture had been outlined and agreed Next Dimension produced a detailed technical design. Next Dimension also discussed various tools for performing migration tasks and Quest GroupWise Migrator for Exchange was chosen as the preferred tool. Bidwells was keen to utilise their existing VMware Virtual Infrastructure running on EMC Storage. It was necessary to add additional storage capacity the existing EMC SAN’s at all sites as well as make changes to the Cisco network to support DAG replication. Next Dimension used their internally qualified MCITP and CCIE consultants to carry out all modifications to the existing environment to prepare it for Exchange 2010.

Next Dimension carried out a test build and migration within a Proof of Concept environment. The solution was built within original timescales proposed by Next Dimension and mailboxes were successfully migrated from GroupWise to Exchange. Following the successful POC and pilot migrations Next Dimension conducted a skills transfer exercise and handed over the migration of user mailboxes to Bidwells’ IT staff. The first groups of live mailbox migrations were performed by Bidwells staff with Next Dimension acting as advisors. Bidwells’ IT staff concluded the migration of all remaining GroupWise mailboxes across all remote offices successfully by following the procedure created by Next Dimension.

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