Lloyd's Register is in the process of migrating to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, so that it can support its mobile and remote workers better and eliminate 20 Unix servers.
The organisation, which provides risk assessment services for sea transport, chose Microsoft over Linux and Unix three years ago, and said it has reduced its IT operating spend by up to 35% through server consolidation.
Now it is planning to develop applications that use the Microsoft .net framework, particularly to improve support for mobile users: 40% of its 5,500 staff are classified as mobile, and operate from 234 offices in 120 countries.
Over the past three years, it has consolidated 76 Unix servers onto 56 machines that run Windows Exchange Server 2000. Before the migration, Lloyd's Register's infrastructure included Windows NT Server 4.0, Novell NetWare 3 and 4, HP OpenMail, HP-UX and Linux.
"I inherited a fragmented infrastructure," said Stephen Hand, group IT director. "Each part of the organisation had put together its own IT system." So the company ran a feasibility study to compare Windows with Linux and Unix, and decided to consolidate its servers on the Windows platform.
"Reduction of total cost of 0wnership (TCO) has been a theme for us," said Hand. "The business case rests on a 30%-35% reduction in IT operating spend. It went from around £24m a year in 2002-3 to £16m in 2005, on a like-for-like basis," he said.
Among the organisation's selection criteria were TCO, the ability for a third party to host the infrastructure, multi-lingual support, global availability of skills and a roadmap for the future.
"We went for Windows Server 2003 and that was not the outcome we had expected," Hand said. "There was not a huge difference in TCO between Unix and Microsoft. Of key importance was interoperability from the back end to the desktop."