Tasmania upgrades to Exchange 2010


news The Tasmanian Government has embarked on one of Australia’s largest known email platform upgrades, recently revealing plans to shift some 40,000 email accounts to the latest version of Microsoft’s Exchange platform as part of a wider shake-up of its communications strategy.

“The Tasmanian Government (Government) represented by TMD, (a division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet) is seeking to enter into arrangements with a suitably qualified and experienced Contractor to lead the upgrade of the Connect Email Service infrastructure from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010, with the final infrastructure serving approximately 40,000 mailboxes,” the department said on its tendering website.

“TMD commissioned a high-level design from Microsoft Consultancy Services (Architecture and Design for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010), which details TMD’s current technical environment as well as the end-state environment that TMD is seeking assistance to develop and implement.”

It’s unclear why the Tasmanian Government is pursuing the upgrade, although Exchange 2010 offers users a number of advantages over the previous version, Exchange 2007, including an improved level of integration with Microsoft’s Office 2010 platform, as well as more robust disaster recovery and storage configurations, integration with cloud computing platforms, and even new rights management features around who can access which emails.

Exchange 2010 was released in October 2009. However, many Australian organisations are believed to be ‘sitting’ on Exchange 2007, which many see as offering a modern enough platform for most. Some organisations, for example Queensland Health, even see Exchange 2007 as being modern enough for new rollouts, with the organisation recently flagging plans to dump its existing GroupWise system for Exchange 2007.

Other major organisations known to have completed the upgrade include Melbourne’s Victoria University (which partnered with systems integrator Dimension Data on its rollout) and brewer Lion Nathan, which expected to save about $90,000 through reducing storage requirements through its own implementation.

Tasmania has also recently kicked off a number of other tendering initiatives in the communications space. It also recently commenced a search for a supplier to deliver it traditional telephony, ISDN and IP-based networking services from March next year, when its existing contracts end. And in November 2010, the state sough submissions from companies interested in providing it with broader voice and mobile telecommunications services.

Tasmania’s TMD division currently manages more than 25,000 government end point devices — usually telephones — through its TASINET managed fixed voice service — with the majority being delivered through Telstra’s CustomNet Spectrum platform.

There are other platforms which deliver voice services to the State Government as well — for example, IP telephony installations. Around 500 services use Microsoft’s Office Communications Server platform within departments such as DPC and the Department of Education corporate offices. In total, TMD services over 30,000 staff across more than 1,200 sites in the state in total (including TASINET). The State also has some 10,000 mobile phones, of which a number are delivered by Optus, as well as Telstra.

“The Government expects that in the future, voice and data services will be provided predominantly over a single, convered multi-service network — supported by a Government-owned IPv6 address allocation,” the state wrote in tendering documents at the time.

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Image credit: Sigurd Decroos, royalty free