Judicial Authority Saves $2 Million with Centralized IT Management Tools

Judicial Authority Saves $2 Million with Centralized IT Management Tools

Microsoft Windows Server System R2
Customer Solution Case Study
/ / Judicial Authority Saves $2 Million with Centralized IT Management Tools
Country or Region:Germany
Customer Profile
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) of Lower Saxony is the state’s highest judicial authority. It employs 15,000 people, including 1,800 full-time judges, and operates 17 independent prisons to enforce legal decisions in the region.
Business Situation
Historically, MOJ worked with a complex IT infrastructure across 180 branch sites. This was difficult and expensive to manage, and did not guarantee the quality of IT service delivery to end users.
A new hardware and software infrastructure based on Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 R2 was deployed to centralize management of key IT processes, applications, and hardware.
Reduced IT management needs
Hardware and software savings of U.S.$2million
Improved quality and availability of critical IT services for end users
Compliance with regulatory legislation / “By reducing local staffing requirements and helping us manage software upgrades remotely, the new system will deliver significant financial savings.”
Dr. Ralph Guise-Ruebe, Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Justice of Lower Saxony
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) of Lower Saxony, the region’s highest judicial authority, supports its activities with a complex IT infrastructure. Previously, the ministry worked with operating systems, messaging engines, and tape libraries distributed across 180 branch offices. The technology at each site was managed locally, along with time-consuming data backup processes. Because new deployments at each branch depended on the capabilities of local technicians, the quality of IT services was not consistent across the organization. To address these issues, MOJ deployed new infrastructure based on Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 R2. The new solution provides centralized management tools that help improve service across the organization and reduce software licensing, hardware, and staffing requirements. The result will be an estimated saving of U.S.$2 million on hardware and software.


The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) of Lower Saxony, Germany, is the state’s highest legal authority. It operates local courts and public prosecutor’s offices, and represents the interests of the law within the state government. The judicial authority of Lower Saxony employs more than 15,000 people, including 1,800 full-time judges, 450 state attorneys, and 100 office attorneys. As well as administering the judicial system, MOJ operates 17 independent prisons with 3,800 staff. These institutions are responsible for enforcing legal decisions and detaining lawbreakers.

MOJ supported its administrative activities, including budget management, training, and resource allocation, with a number of line-of-business (LOB) applications running on a complex IT infrastructure. Dr. Ralph Guise-Ruebe, Chief Information Officer of MOJ, says, “Our LOB applications record judicial decisions, monitor the justice system, and help us make financial decisions. They also handle the production, storage, and archiving of text documents, some of which are partially repopulated with data. If we tried to work without these technologies, we would need at least a third more administrative staff across the organization.”

Historically, the hardware and software that supported the key applications, including distributed Microsoft® Windows NT® Server 4.0 domains and Exchange Server version 5.5, were located at 180 MOJ branch offices. Routine IT maintenance, system upgrades, and data backup were all managed manually at the geographically distributed locations. This workload required the attention of full-time administrators at each of the local sites.

As well as requiring costly on-site maintenance, the decentralized nature of the architecture often compromised the quality and availability of IT services for end users. This is because the success of local hardware deployments and routine system maintenance depended on the capabilities and knowledge of the local administrators. In addition, hardware in some local branches had reached its limits in terms of scalability and performance, and hardware drivers were no longer available for the organization’s aging server operating system.

To guarantee the quality of IT services, reduce administration associated with local data backup, and comply with regulatory legislation, MOJ decided to replace its existing infrastructure with a new, centralized IT solution.


After careful evaluation of available technologies including the Linux open source operating system, the Ministry of Justice of Lower Saxony chose Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 R2—the second release of the Windows Server 2003 operating system—to support the new, centralized IT system. The decision to deploy this technology, the foundation of Microsoft Windows Server System™ integrated server software, was largely based on ease of upgrade.

“We decided to centralize our IT infrastructure into a single domain structure based on Windows Server 2003 R2,” says Guise-Ruebe. “We could have chosen to support our operations with a number of other technologies, but we already work with several Windows®-based applications. In addition, changing to open source technologies would have required extensive reprogramming and resulted in significant development costs.”

Before upgrading, MOJ entered into an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft. In addition, it joined a number of key programs, such as the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Technology Adoption Program, to help ensure successful implementation of the new system. Microsoft Services played a key role in the deployment, offering knowledge transfer, on-site training, and support.

Seven hub sites are being created to support the 180 branch offices. Each of these sites will incorporate domain controllers, Windows Server 2003 R2, Exchange Server 2003 messaging clusters, and several supporting technologies. These include Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, which is used to monitor the network, and Systems Management Server 2003, which handles new software deployments and upgrades centrally.

The Distributed File System (DFS), a key element of Windows Server 2003 R2, supports the replication of files and functionality from local branches to the new hub sites. This makes it possible to handle backup centrally and eliminates the need for local, tape-based backup processes. Dynamic failover technologies between locations help ensure business continuity and data protection in the event of a local hardware or software failure.

Remote Differential Compression, another feature of Windows Server 2003 R2, offers excellent compression for Microsoft Word and other documents transferred across the network. This makes bandwidth available for central IT management functionality and helps ensure that high levels of performance are maintained across the network.

On the desktop, MOJ will deploy Windows Vista™, the upcoming release of the Windows desktop operating system, ensuring that no upgrades will be required for a number of years. “We had the option to upgrade our workstations to Windows XP, but ultimately an upgrade to Windows Vista would have been required,” says Guise-Ruebe. “Because we operate 15,000 desktop computers, we decided to deploy the very latest technology as soon as it became available, saving ourselves time and additional investment in the future.”

To help ensure successful rollout of the new desktop operating system, MOJ joined the Windows Vista Technology Adoption Program. This is helping the organization understand the capabilities of the new software and prepare its architecture for the adoption of Windows Vista beginning in early 2006.


Using Windows Server 2003 R2, the Ministry of Justice of Lower Saxony has delivered a raft of benefits to system administrators and end users. As well as reducing the time required to administer the network and back up data at branch sites, the technology improves quality and availability of IT services to workstations across the organization. In addition, the new consolidated software architecture streamlines management and rollout of applications through seven hub sites. In doing so, it supports an anticipatory approach to handling IT issues and helps ensure compliance with IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standards for IT management best practice.

Reduced IT Management Needs

Today, MOJ conducts key IT functions such as routine maintenance, software upgrades, and backup at its seven hub sites. As a result, full-time administrators no longer are required at local branches.

Guise-Ruebe says, “Now local management responsibilities at most of our 180 locations can often be handled on a part-time basis, freeing employees to focus on more value-added initiatives. This improvement alone is delivering enormous savings.

“The decision to deploy Windows Server 2003 R2 will allow us to manage and maintain the network more effectively through our seven hub sites. By reducing local staffing requirements and helping us manage software upgrades remotely, the new system will deliver significant financial savings.”

Hardware and Software Savings of $2 Million

The new centralized system eliminates the need for costly backup hardware at geographically distributed branches and minimizes software licensing costs. As a result, MOJ anticipates savings of U.S.$2 million.

While attending the EnterpriseEngineeringCenter, which provides testing facilities for complex business computing scenarios at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Guise-Ruebe says, “We have been able to eliminate costly hardware at our branches, and we have also minimized software licensing requirements. As well as a one-off saving of $2 million on hardware and software, the reduction in geographically distributed infrastructure will deliver ongoing savings in terms of maintenance and upgrades.”

Improved Quality and Availability of Critical IT Services for End Users

Centralized management of the MOJ infrastructure helps ensure that software maintenance and upgrades are conducted according to best-practice guidelines. As a result, the quality and availability of IT services will be greatly improved for end users.

“Previously, application deployments were managed by local administrators at our 180 branch sites,” says Guise-Ruebe. “This made it very difficult to guarantee that the quality of the rollout was the same across all our branches. By contrast, we can now ensure that rollouts are conducted according to standards for best practice across all branches and enhance the quality and availability of critical applications for our end users. Centralized management of the software architecture also helps us simplify our application landscape and reduce the number of programs in use to just a few hundred.”

In addition to this benefit, file replication supported by the Distributed File System increases the availability of application functionality for end users. This is because employees now can access the applications that they need even when file servers are offline. With DFS, administrators can work more effectively—and reduce their weekend working—by monitoring and maintaining servers centrally during business hours.

Compliance with Regulatory Legislation

One key goal of the Windows Server 2003 R2 deployment was compliance with IT Infrastructure Library standards for IT management best practice. These outline a widely accepted approach to IT service management and provide a comprehensive set of guidelines drawn from public and private sector organizations internationally. The ITIL standards offer a comprehensive qualifications scheme, accredited training programs, and implementation and assessment tools.

“Compliance with ITIL standards was a critical requirement for us,” says Guise-Ruebe. “To achieve it, we needed to take an anticipatory approach to IT management and monitoring. We must also demonstrate that our infrastructure is being managed in the most efficient way possible. Instead of reacting to IT issues and managing local sites on an impromptu basis, we needed centralized tools to anticipate and address ever-changing requirements.

“With the new IT management tools provided with Windows Server 2003 R2, we are taking a holistic view of our infrastructure and conducting management in accordance with all the relevant standards. Compliance with ITIL standards ultimately makes us fully accountable to regulators and citizens, and demonstrates that we are operating transparently, efficiently, and cost-effectively.”

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