fldhsmv logoThe Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) ensures safety on highways and providing quality service to motorists with more than 15 million driver licenses and over 19 million vehicle registrations issued, and more than 30 million miles of roads patrolled by troopers each year.

The DHSMV O365 migration project presented unique challenges related to aged systems and software, mission-critical availability requirements, a large number of users, and a very large email archive. DHSMV has a large distributed service offering for its Exchange Email system operating critical job functions 24×365. DHSMV’s law enforcement divisions for state troopers are critical to the function of the agency not to mention the state of Florida. Interruptions to these mission critical jobs and processes were to be avoided at all costs, which made the already important communications and scheduling logistics critical to the success of the migration.

PROBLEM

The DHSMV O365 migration project presented unique challenges related to aged systems and software, mission-critical availability requirements, a large number of users, and a very large email archive. DHSMV has a large distributed service offering for its Exchange Email system operating critical job functions 24×365. DHSMV’s law enforcement divisions for state troopers are critical to the function of the agency not to mention the state of Florida. Interruptions to these mission critical jobs and processes were to be avoided at all costs, which made the already important communications and scheduling logistics critical to the success of the migration.

DHSMV’s environment prior to migration was on outdated legacy hardware and unsupported versions of Microsoft’s Exchange Messaging system. ISC migrated and transitioned the DHSMV Microsoft 2008 active directory forest(s)/domain(s) containing Exchange 2003 active mailboxes to a single O365 tenant. DHSMV’s management and administration of their active directory domains remain on-premise. ISC’s strategy followed Microsoft best practice for an Exchange 2003 migration with Exchange 2010 Hybrid to Exchange Online (O365). Because there is not a methodology for migrating directly from Exchange 2003 to Exchange Online, ISC implemented an Exchange 2010 mail server with hybrid configuration into the DHSMV existing Exchange 2003 organization.

The term hybrid configuration or hybrid environment describes a scenario in which two separate Exchange organizations that belong to different Active Directory forests are working as a “one unit”.  Hybrid describes the relationship between the Exchange on-premise infrastructure and the cloud (Exchange Online) infrastructure. The first migration step is a migration of the mailbox from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 hybrid. The second migration step is migration from the Exchange 2010 Hybrid to the O365 cloud Exchange online. The steps occur invisibly to users, and email is available at all times.

SOLUTION

Cloud Navigator’s recommended and implemented strategy was used to successfully move DHSMV 5000+ mailboxes. All mailboxes were placed on “Litigation Hold” to prevent deletion of any email from the mailboxes. ISC implemented Microsoft DirSync technology for identity and group synchronization from DHSMV’s on-premise Microsoft Active Directory (AD) with the cloud based O365 directory (Windows Azure Active Directory), with Microsoft ADFS federation service for secure credential authentication redirection to DHSMV’s branded on-premise AD environment. This configuration allows for similar on-premise administration of user access as DHSMV’s previous management processes.

We also provided documentation, testing, pilot, and production deployment support for iOS and Active Sync mobile devices, including assistance with transitioning DHSMV Mobile Device Management (MDM) AirWatch systems and processes. This provided DHSMV a smooth transition of mobile device mailbox access from the on-premise to O365 via autodiscover configuration of the mailbox, based on user credentials. We then migrated a small amount of public folder data to O365.

In conjunction with the email migration, we transitioned DHSMV from utilizing IronPort Security Appliance for message hygiene and filtering to the Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology within O365 (Exchange Online). Knowledge transfer to DHSMV occurred consistently throughout the project as ISC worked closely with the senior IT support staff during all project phases of Discovery, Remediation, Planning, Testing, and Migration. We provided formal classroom instruction on O365 Administration for DHSMV IT staff that included Office 365 and Exchange Online portal, DirSync Management, ADFS Federation, and Basic PowerShell administration.
Our approach to the desktop was to perform Exchange Messaging system migration first.  ISC worked closely with the DHSMV IT patch and deployment management staff to identify, test, and deploy the necessary software and patch level for the desktops. These patches allow the clients to operate properly upon the day of mailbox migration without interruption to access for functionality. The client switch or discovery process was performed through the best practice universal principle name resolution via autodiscover functionality within Office/Exchange and Outlook clients.

Lastly we assisted DHSMV with migrating their 10+ TB Mimosa NearPoint archive, implementing a methodology for PST and Mimosa NearPoint archive migration utilizing integration with third party migration tools.  We created and documented the process and migrated 20% of the archive (approximately 2.37TB) from PSTs and Mimosa NearPoint to Office 365. We trained DHSMV staff on the process, who assumed responsibility for migrating the remainder of the archive.

RESULTS

Our approach and processes for the migration, integrated with carefully managed schedules, ensured there was no end-user business interruption. What could have been a difficult and risk-laden project was well managed by DHSMV and Cloud Navigator, and the project was completed successfully on time.

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