Blog Article

Zero Downtime Migration for Camberwell Grammar

Camberwell Grammar School (CGS) is an independent Anglican School for boys located in Canterbury Victoria.

CGS is deliberately progressive with technology adoption, constantly reviewing its systems and processes to stay up to date and leverage technology to enhanced learning and development outcomes; as well as improve administration efficiencies and ensure accurate information flow to the broader school community.

The Challenge Faced with the task of moving the school’s on-premise Exchange e-mail, calendars and contact data to the cloud as part of a much broader suite of technology initiatives that targets significant enhancements in the way the school interacts with students, parents and staff.

CGS’s ICT team were challenged to design, plan and migrate 521 teachers, school administration and management staff ’s e-mail, contacts and calendar data from their existing on premises Exchange to Exchange Online.

The plan targeted zero loss of account data, zero loss of services during business hours, and only a small outage window tolerated outside of hours.

The migration team faced challenges of mixed workstation fleets (PC & Mac, IOS & Android), with a portion of Macs not using MS Outlook as the mail client. This meant existing automated methods of device re-configuration could not be used and alternative processes had to be developed to support user device migrations.

Other challenges included managing the migration of accounts across multiple domains and ensuring other school systems that use the Exchange Servers were also migrated to the online service.

The Solution

With a proven track record of delivering effective Cloud-based ICT solutions to both private and public-sector organisations, Windstil was engaged by CGS to implement a full technology shift, from design and configuration to deployment and migration to Exchange Online; as well as provide technical project management to ensure the initiative was designed and deployed using industry best practice.

Leveraging the considerable expertise of CGS’s own ICT team, together a detailed migration plan was developed to move each account, complete with calendars, tasks, folders and emails from on premise Exchange to Exchange Online.

The team developed a detailed migration plan and rigorously tested and tuned it before any production migration steps were Initiated.

Using pre-staged migrations methods, the majority of account data was replicated to the new Exchange Online tenancy while users remained active on the existing platform. A final account sync and MX record cut-over was performed over just a few hours during the middle of the night.

When users arrived the following day, they had a clear set of instructions with new login details, and were able to connect easily to the new Exchange Online environment. The migration team produced excellent support documentation and structured an intense user support program to coincide with the system cut-over morning.

By the end of the day, it was clear that the migration had been executed in an outstanding manner; there were surprisingly very few issues requiring rectification.

The Highlights

  • Firstly, the level of engagement and support Windstil had from the CGS ICT team. It was nothing short of exceptional. The team maintained steady state operation of the entire school network, during a hectic last three weeks of school term; and while managing the demands of detailed planning and migration project task on top. This was no easy feat and contributed significantly to the overall success of this migration.
  • The migration team adopted a structured project management approach, along with all the technical tasks, included, very clear stakeholder communications which meant the user community was informed on what to expect and when. Having these structures in place contributed to the achievement of a successful outcome.
  • The technical knowledge and experience provided by Windstil’s Office 365 subject matter expert in identifying technical issues and ensuring they were mitigated as part of the migration design also contributed significantly to the successful result.
  • The project was completed as planned, ahead of schedule and within budget. The true measure of a successful project.

This was a great project to be involved in and Windstil sincerely thank Camberwell Grammar School for the opportunity to play our role in the project’s success.

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