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School district migrates from Zovy ACA to Office 365

Volusia County Schools is the 57th largest school district in the USA, with over 8000 employees serving some 61,000 students across 16 cities in the State of Florida. As an organization, they generate significant amounts of email data on a daily basis – data that must, under the Florida Sunshine Law, be preserved and protected as part of public record.

Migration Motivations

In fulfilling their statutory data retention obligations, Volusia County Schools built up a decade’s worth of data in their archives, totaling 5.6 terabytes. It was imperative to the organization that access to this data remained secure, but their existing archive solution – an on-premises Zovy ACA product – was causing some issues.

“We were not receiving the level of support to meet our needs from our provider,” says Matt Houston, Systems Engineer and Business Intelligence Manager for Volusia County Schools. “We ended up mutually agreeing to end our contract, but that left us in an unsupported place moving forward.”

This posed a few challenges, not least of which was the possibility of losing access to their archived data, “It was absolutely mandatory that we keep this information” stated Houston.

With no time to delay, Volusia County Schools began investigating alternative platforms and potential solutions to migrate their email archives as quickly and safely as possible.

Why Office 365?

Having already moved their mailboxes to Microsoft Exchange Online, leveraging Microsoft’s cloud for email archiving seemed like a natural extension. According to Houston, the combination of convenience, affordability and near-limitless storage potential made the decision an easy one – particularly given the organization’s data retention obligations and the K-12 public sector’s pervasive lack of funding.

With Microsoft Office 365, we could get off our expensive, difficult-to-support and hard-to-maintain on-premise solution and move to the cloud at no additional cost beyond what we were already paying for our mailboxes. It was a no-brainer - Matt Houston

All they needed was the right migration solution and a talented partner to implement it for them. They found these in Compliance IT Solutions using TransVault Migrator.

Potential Migration Challenges

Despite having a clear direction and a strong implementation team, Volusia County Schools’ migration project wasn’t without potential challenges. These included:

  • Unusual proprietary formats from Zovy ACA
  • A huge volume of data (dating back 10 years)
  • Possible data fidelity issues from a previous migration
  • Zero support from the previous archive solution’s agents
  • Time pressure to restore archive access as soon (and as accurately) as possible

“For us, the biggest challenge was the source,” says Kevin Thacker of Compliance IT Solutions. “We needed to ensure that the environment would be functional and that there were no ‘gotchas’ hiding there. It could have been a really sticky product to get into, but once we had a chance to investigate the underlying components, we knew we could achieve a successful outcome using TransVault.

The Migration Experience and Outcomes

For Volusia County Schools, the resulting migration experience was a remarkably smooth one.

Compliance IT Solutions exported their data batch by batch, conducting ongoing evaluations and adjustments (in close communication with their client) to maximize fidelity and minimize errors. Key departments and employees were prioritized according to their needs, and the total timeline topped out at around 12 months – “A snappy pace to move all that data, and do it well,” says Houston.

Of the 313 million messages migrated, only around 200 000 were flagged as failed or skipped – a tough-to-beat statistic for such a large migration.

“We had an incredibly low percentage of errors,” says Houston. “The few issues we did have were usually because messages were corrupt in the original source. Even then, the corrupt messages were brought over with their contents more or less intact and readable – something that was important to us for legal reasons. TransVault and Compliance IT Solutions really came together to help us achieve our goal and continue to meet our statutory requirements.”

About Compliance IT Solutions LLC

Winners of TranVault’s 2017 “Best Migration Certified Engineer” for North America, Compliance IT Solutions are headquartered in Texas and specializes in email and archive migrations using the top migration vendor products in the market. They also offer full-service support and training and a range of ‘a la carte’ consulting services, including email and compliance, training, cloud solutions and full data migrations.

Find out more >

Source

Zovy (HP) ACA

Target

Microsoft Office 365

Users

±8000

Data Size

5.6TBs

Messages

±313 million