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    Case Study

    Novell to Microsoft Migration - Server Virtualization & Consolidation

    May 2009

    California Department of Food and Agriculture saves money & improves availability with Microsoft migration & leveraging virtual & SAN technologies.

    After standardizing on Microsoft for infrastructure services, CDFA was seeking an efficient and transparent way to migrate its user base from a Novell Infrastructure standard, which included Novell eDirectory Services, GroupWise 7.0 and Novell File and Application Servers, to a Microsoft Infrastructure platform, which included Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange 2003 and Windows File and Application Servers.


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    California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) operates at more than 100 locations throughout the state. Its six divisions help to ensure animal health and food safety, support 80 local California fairs, inspect products to make sure that they meet quality and labeling standards, oversee California agricultural marketing, certify devices that weigh and measure commodities, and protect California from invasive plant pests and diseases.

    Solution Overview

    BUSINESS SITUATION: CDFA needed an efficient migration from a Novell infrastructure to a Microsoft infrastructure.
    SOLUTION: Enterprise Networking Solutions, Inc. (ENS-Inc) provided a creative and unique mixture of methodologies and tools from Microsoft, Novell, and Quest.
    BENEFITS: The migration was efficient and maximized transparency to CDFA users. Availability was improved and datacenter costs significantly reduced.
    • Best Practices for Migrations
    • Microsoft Exchange
    • Microsoft Active Directory
    • VMware Server Virtualization
    • VMware Server Consolidation
    • EMC Clarion SAN Storage Solutions


    CDFA chose to standardize their infrastructure services with Microsoft to improve service availability and reliability, and to reduce the cost of operations. They needed to migrate their email user base efficiently and transparently from the Novell infrastructure to the Microsoft infrastructure utilizing Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange.


    ENS-Inc engineered a creative and unique mixture of methodologies, strategies, and tools from Microsoft, Novell, Quest, and ENS-Inc. Working with ENS-Inc, CDFA efficiently migrated to the Microsoft infrastructure by utilizing Quest Active Directory and Exchange migration tools, and by leveraging virtual and SAN technologies. Efficiency was furthered by limiting the implementers to a small number of ENS-Inc. engineers and a relatively small number of CDFA IT staff.

    The migration strategy was first tested on equipment in an environment that was a virtual copy of the test environment, and then with test machines in the production environment to ensure functionality for live production users. ENS-Inc then worked with CDFA IT staff to migrate their own files, email, and workstations as a pilot, proof-of-concept migration, before implementing the migration for the rest of CDFA.

    Email, Directory Services, and file data hosted on CDFA Novell servers were migrated with very little user participation in the process. ENS-Inc automated the deployment of the new Outlook client to each workstation by using Group Policy, and built new user profiles on user workstations using the Quest migration tools. This minimized impact to the user as well as minimizing the amount of work that needed to be done on each workstation.

    Knowledge Transfer & Training

    CDFA IT staff was involved in all aspects of the migration, performing hands-on migration tasks side-by-side with ENS-Inc engineers. ENS-Inc authored comprehensive as-built and administration documentation specific to the CDFA environment. ENS-Inc also provided classroom-style training for CDFA administrators and “Train the Trainer” sessions to enable CDFA training staff to train users throughout CDFA.

    The broad base of experience of the ENS engineers, management, technical writers, and project managers enabled access to additional expertise and engineering on an as-needed basis.

    This collaborative spirit of ENS-Inc and CDFA was key to the success of the project.


    The efficient migration to the Microsoft Infrastructure platform provided CDFA with the following benefits:

    Improved Messaging Functionality

    CDFA’s Exchange messaging and calendaring platform interoperates more effectively with their state and private-sector partners.

    Improved Availability

    VMware virtual server clusters mitigate the problem of server hardware as a single point of failure.

    Simplified IT Management

    The virtual infrastructure gives IT staff one main console from which they can administer and monitor almost all Windows servers. The Microsoft infrastructure also has a very broad support base.

    Reduced Cost, Server Room Simplification and Consolidation

    VMware virtualization and EMC SAN technologies reduced power, cooling and space requirements by consolidating multiple physical servers onto far fewer physical servers. To date, 21 physical servers have been consolidated down to only four physical servers.

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