Bloemers Nassau Groep Increases

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					                                              Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
                                              Customer Solution Case Study

                                              Bloemers Nassau Groep Increases Uptime and
                                              Improves Mobile Communication

Overview                                      “Communication is our organization’s lifeline;
Country or Region: The Netherlands
Industry: Insurance
                                              Exchange Server is its backbone. The Exchange
                                              Server 2007 deployment allowed us to see how it
Customer Profile
Bloemers Nassau Groep is a leading Dutch
                                              could improve our system’s availability and reliability.”
insurance company that helps customers        John Tan, IT Operations Manager, Bloemers Nassau Groep
with specialized business risks and offers
a range of insurance needs to employees       Bloemers Nassau Groep, established in 1953, is one of the largest
and corporate directors. It has 170
employees.                                    insurance management firms in the Netherlands. It has several
                                              offices throughout Europe and an increasingly mobile work force.
Business Situation
E-mail traffic had been steadily increasing   Ensuring the full-time availability of the network is a challenge for
at the company. It sought a solution that     the organization, particularly because the amount of e-mail
could handle that challenge and provide
centralized management.                       messages is rapidly increasing. The firm wanted to implement a
                                              new messaging solution to handle that issue, as well as provide IT
The organization recently deployed a          administrators with a centrally managed infrastructure. In 2006,
prerelease version of Microsoft® Exchange     the organization worked with Solfit, a Microsoft® technology partner,
Server 2007.
                                              to deploy Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. This solution has
Benefits                                      provided Bloemers Nassau Groep with increased uptime, improved
 Increased uptime
 Improved mobile communication
                                              mobile communication features, and a more secure messaging
 Better Microsoft Office Outlook® Web        environment.
  Access experience
 Increased security
                                            Situation                                         external communication simply hinge on
                                            Bloemers Nassau Groep is a leading Dutch          Exchange Server 2003. Therefore, as soon as
                                            insurance management organization based           something goes wrong in the cluster on one
                                            in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The                of the servers, other computers take over its
                                            organization, which also has branch offices in    tasks straight away.”
                                            Amsterdam, Barendrecht, Cologne,
                                            Copenhagen, Paris, and London, consists of        Tan says that e-mail traffic has been steadily
                                            two main companies. The first is Nassau           increasing in quantity and volume at
                                            Verzekering Maatschappij NV (Nassau               Bloemers Nassau Groep. “We are the central
                                            Insurance Company NV), an indemnity               distribution point for our whole organization,
                                            company that specializes in business risks        and now that the message traffic on our
                                            such as professional and directors’ liability,    network is constantly getting busier, we are
                                            technical insurances, kidnap and ransom,          paying more attention to the availability of
                                            product recall, burglary, and fire damage. The    our communication platform,” he says. To
                                            second company is Leidsche Verzekering            handle these issues, he says that the
“With the enhanced                          Maatschappij NV (Leiden Insurance Company         organization had been searching for a new IT

Outlook Web Access, we                      NV), a life insurance firm that handles
                                            pension schemes for employees, pension
                                                                                              solution that could be replicated over several
                                                                                              different company branches while providing
can provide our users                       solutions for director-shareholders, and other    centralized IT management. “We also needed

with an interface they                      investment insurance. Bloemers Nassau
                                            Groep has 170 employees total.
                                                                                              something that would enable us to roll out
                                                                                              applications quickly, as well as update them,”
are familiar with,                                                                            he says.

available to them via the                   Most of the organization’s IT infrastructure is
                                            based on Microsoft® technologies. There are       Solution
standard Internet                           currently 50 server computers at Bloemers         In May 2006, Bloemers Nassau Groep was

browser.”                                   Nassau Groep, running Microsoft Exchange
                                            Server 2003 communication and
                                                                                              approached by Steven van Houttum from
                                                                                              Microsoft technology partner Solfit Training
John Tan, IT Operations Manager, Bloemers   collaboration server, Microsoft Operations        and Consultancy BV. Van Houttum invited
Nassau Groep                                Manager (MOM), and Microsoft SQL Server™          Bloemers Nassau Groep to participate in a
                                            2000. The organization also uses Microsoft        Rapid Deployment Program for Exchange
                                            Office SharePoint® Portal Server 2003 for         Server 2007. “I asked Bloemers Nassau
                                            employees to collaborate. “It is easy to          Groep to do this because their server
                                            explain why we opt for Microsoft: We like to      platform is so well organized and is based
                                            use market leaders, and Microsoft has been        entirely on Microsoft technology,” says van
                                            the market leader in the area of networks for     Houttum. “In addition, I knew that the new
                                            years now,” says John Tan, IT Operations          cluster solutions of Exchange Server 2007
                                            Manager, Bloemers Nassau Groep.                   could offer them availability benefits, which
                                                                                              would be of particular interest to them as
                                            Tan says the IT environment at Bloemers           they are aiming to have the highest
                                            Nassau Groep is increasingly based around         availability possible. A high-availability cluster
                                            integrated communications. “We currently          with data replication can, in fact, be set up
                                            run Exchange Server 2003 in a clustered           with Exchange Server 2007. This means that
                                            environment, since communication is the           organizations can have a fault-tolerant
                                            lifeline of our organization,” he says. “Fax      solution, spread over various locations, to
                                            messages arrive into user mailboxes as TIFF       which data is replicated once again.”
                                            files. Outgoing faxes are sent from individual
                                            computers. In short, both our internal and
                                          Bloemers Nassau Groep deployed Exchange          Increased Uptime
                                          Server 2007 in September 2006. “The setup        IT administrators at Bloemers Nassau Groep
                                          of the cluster environment was amazingly         will experience increased uptime for the
                                          smooth,” says Tan. “In our test bed, we          organization-wide system, according to van
                                          wanted to test two clusters of one server and    Houttum. “Two new functions of the cluster
                                          two from another, since we wanted to keep        structure of Exchange Server 2007 are
                                          the front-end and the back-end separate.         specifically meant to maximize the availability
                                          Therefore we procured four HP ProLiant 64-       of the server resources,” he says. “The first is
                                          bit DL385 servers.”                              called cluster continuous replication (CCR).
                                                                                           This type of clustering does not have any
                                          The Exchange Server 2007 environment at          single point of failure in the event of a fault
                                          Bloemers Nassau Groep was then integrated        situation. A high availability of both server
                                          with the network infrastructure that already     resources and storage groups is therefore
                                          existed at the organization prior to this        guaranteed. CCR actually combines a
                                          deployment. The Mailbox role is installed on     traditional active/passive cluster with the
“The new mobile                           the active node and the passive node of the      shipping and reply mechanisms of the

communication features                    cluster. The data is constantly being
                                          replicated between the respective nodes. “As
                                                                                           transaction log in Exchange Server 2007,
                                                                                           therefore making it possible to have a replica
in Exchange Server                        soon as you cluster the Mailbox role in          of the mailbox databases from the production

2007 will allow                           Exchange Server 2007, you cannot run any
                                          other role on the server,” says van Houttum.
                                                                                           environment made available on a continuous
                                                                                           basis. This means that disaster recovery is no
Bloemers Nassau Groep                     “Therefore, a second set of servers is set up    longer a problem.”

IT administrators to                      with a Client Access server and Edge
                                          Transport server role on both of them. These     Adds John Tan, “We can now replicate our
manage mobile devices                     servers are then made redundant by network       data 100 percent to our branch in Germany.

much easier.”                             load balancing.”                                 We are therefore increasing our uptime.”

Steven van Houttum, Solfit Training and   “Communication is our organization’s lifeline;   The second new function is local continuous
Consultancy BV                            Exchange Server is its backbone,” says Tan.      replication (LCR). “LCR means that a local
                                          “The Exchange Server 2007 deployment             copy is made of the databases of a storage
                                          allowed us to see how it could improve our       group in Exchange Server 2007 and is
                                          system’s availability and reliability.”          deposited at a specified location,” says van
                                                                                           Houttum. “This location can be an external
                                          Benefits                                         USB drive, a network-attached storage (NAS),
                                          Bloemers Nassau Groep now has a                  or a storage area network (SAN). If you are
                                          messaging solution that contains new             concerned with having a high availability and
                                          clustering functions that help increase          a low total cost of ownership, then LCR is of
                                          uptime. The organization’s employees can         real interest to you.”
                                          also take advantage of improved mobile
                                          communication features in Exchange Server        Improved Mobile Communication
                                          2007, in addition to enhancements to             Some employees at Bloemers Nassau Groep
                                          Microsoft Office Outlook® Web Access.            are increasingly using mobile devices to
                                          Finally, the organization now has a more         check their e-mail messages while they are
                                          secure solution overall.                         traveling on business. “The new mobile
                                                                                           communication features in Exchange Server
                                                                                           2007 will allow Bloemers Nassau Groep IT
                                                                                           administrators to manage mobile devices
much easier. That is due not only to Exchange     monitored on a fulltime basis from the very
Server 2007, but also to the Windows              beginning,” says van Houttum. “In addition,
Mobile® 5.0 software deployed on the              the e-mail flow is tracked, tests are
devices,” says van Houttum. “Because the          performed via special test mailboxes, and we
two connect together so well, in many cases       receive e-mail signaling from MOM. We can
you do not need to have a software layer          use the information provided by MOM to
between them. This means that it is easier to     continue to optimize and fine tune the
manage the mobile environment. The self-          system.”
service provisions made for the users also
contribute to this. For example, users can        Tan adds that Bloemers Nassau Groep may
delete all the business data remotely on a        eventually take advantage of technology in
phone that has been lost or stolen without        Exchange Server 2007 that helps
the intervention of a system administrator.       organizations better encrypt e-mail
However, the system administrator can block       messages. “Even though insurance
this function for certain users.”                 companies typically communicate through
                                                  normal mail, we recognize that e-mail is
Better Outlook Web Access Experience              becoming more and more important for the
Bloemers Nassau Groep employees will also         industry,” he says. “That is why we are now
experience enhanced Office Outlook Web            considering offering digital rights
Access in Exchange Server 2007. “In the           management in the Microsoft Office
beginning, Outlook Web Access was quite           SharePoint Server 2007 environment.”
basic, and we did not give it much thought,”
says Tan. “The solution was gradually more
and more developed, and the product gained
more functionality. I see it as a full-fledged
alternative to the desktop version of
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, which our
users were already using. With the enhanced
Outlook Web Access, we can provide our
users with an interface they are familiar with,
available to them via the standard Internet
browser. They can use it to send and receive
e-mail messages, manage calendar
information, and even open documents.”

Increased Security
Although Exchange Server 2007 comes with
built-in antispam and virus-filtering
capabilities, Tan says the organization is also
using another security software tool that is
monitored by MOM. Because Exchange
Server 2007 comes with an extensive
management pack for MOM, management of
this security tool is easier than before. “We
implemented that service pack immediately,
so that the availability of the organization’s
Exchange Server 2007 systems was already
For More Information                                                                                          Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
For more information about Microsoft                                                                          For more information about the Microsoft
products and services, call the Microsoft                                                                     server product portfolio, go to:
Sales Information Center at (800) 426-                                                              
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Microsoft subsidiary. To access information
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For more information about Bloemers
Nassau Groep products and services, call
0031 10 4141400 or visit the Web site at:

                                                                Software and Services                     Hardware
                                                                 Microsoft Server Product Portfolio         HP ProLiant 64-bit DL385 server
                                                                  − Microsoft Exchange Server 2007            computers
                                                                 Windows Mobile 5.0
                                                                 Technologies
                                                                  − Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT

Document published November 2006