The Royal Mint

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Critical pre-olympics Microsoft Exchange upgrade.

Challenge

The Royal Mint discussed its concerns regarding the upcoming Olympics with Celerity, seeking advice on whether to outsource its email systems to a third party supplier. It was concerned, having looked at a few other providers of hosted email systems, none of which seemed capable of meeting its requirements. Due to the heritage of the Royal Mint, they needed to ensure that the anticipated increase in mail flow was optimised and highly available, therefore a decision was made to replace their ageing Microsoft Exchange 2003 environment with a fault tolerant 2010 Exchange environment.

One of the biggest pre-requisites with the project was that the deployment of the new environment would not cause user disruption and would minimise technical complications to their current working system and environment. The project therefore required first class expertise and project management skills. Celerity has worked with the Royal Mint in the past, and have a strong working relationship with the team, and so were asked to produce a proposal for the email system based on the released tender. Celerity recommended that they partner with Polymorph, a Microsoft partner with experts specialising in Microsoft Exchange.

Solution

Once the decision was made to proceed with the new Microsoft Exchange 2010 environment, Celerity and Polymorph ran an initial technical workshop with the Royal Mint’s IT department to discuss the current infrastructure environment and to fully understand what they needed from this new environment. This enabled them to get under the skin of the Royal Mint’s IT systems which gave them the knowledge and confidence to propose the best solution.

Only then did they come up with the recommendations on how to successfully deploy the new solution to ensure user disruption was kept to an absolute minimum. Celerity set about designing the hardware infrastructure that Polymorph’s Microsoft implementation would sit on.

One of the key requirements for the hardware architecture designed by Celerity was a resilient Exchange system. The Royal Mint has employees located all around the world who communicate primarily via email. Celerity positioned three different solutions, each with differing technology, to utilise either Exchange or VMware Resilience and offer the Royal Mint extreme levels of resilience and ensure constant email for its employees.

Due to the nature of the business and constant use of the messaging environment a phased transition was recommended to the Royal Mint, ensuring co-existence between the legacy Microsoft Exchange environment and the new Exchange environment. This allowed for a smooth transition for end users and ensured that there were no surprises for staff when transitioning onto the new system.

This was to be a complex project that required Polymorph to implement into a live environment. Therefore a four-week period of co-existence between the legacy environment and the new Exchange environment was recommended, whilst a phased transition took place to reduce end user disruption.

Result

Polymorph installed and configured a highly available Microsoft Exchange 2010 environment to ensure the Royal Mint was protected against a single server failure. The Microsoft Exchange 2003 Server was finally decommissioned as part of the project, ensuring the Exchange environment was optimised for mail flow. Celerity and Polymorph then provided post-project support and training to staff to ensure a smooth transition and to prevent any setbacks from occurring once they had handed over to the Royal Mint.

Client

The Royal Mint is an historic, government owned organisation with more than 1,000 years of experience. It is the world’s leading mint exporter, with the capacity to make 90 million coins and medals a week, or almost 5 billion coins a year. It supplies coins that are crucial to the daily transactions that underpin life. As a manufacturer, exporter and employer it has a real stake in the industrial life of the nation.

Its first responsibility is to make and distribute United Kingdom coins as well as supply blanks and official medals. With the Olympic Games taking place in the United Kingdom in 2012, the Royal Mint anticipated a 300% increase in its email related traffic. It therefore needed to ensure that its IT infrastructure could meet such demands.

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During the lifecycle of this project, the Celerity and Polymorph partnership has shown an expertise in project management, technical knowledge and customer liaison that allowed the migration to be completed in a professional, timely and smooth manner.
Simon Edwards, IT Operations Manager
The Royal Mint