AWS Public Sector Blog

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria reduced costs by 64% by migrating hundreds of mailboxes to Amazon WorkMail

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), based in Nigeria, was established in 2004 and is an affiliate of the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine. IHVN uses email as their main communication method, with over 800 email accounts using up to 50GB of storage space each. To save on costs and simplify account management, IHVN used Amazon Web Services (AWS) to migrate their email to Amazon WorkMail.

Migrating email to Amazon WorkMail using Audriga

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria information technology (IT) team evaluated multiple options for migrating their mailboxes to reduce the cost of email hosting. IHVN preferred to move to a managed, scalable, and reliable solution that provides the same functionality they had with their previous provider and at the same time cut their costs to the minimum. They decided on Amazon WorkMail.

Amazon WorkMail provides native support for Microsoft Outlook on Windows and Mac OS X, so users can continue to use the email client they are already using without needing to install any additional software, such as plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook. The Institute of Human Virology ran a proof-of-concept on Amazon WorkMail for a month and tested all its features and allowed their employees to test the solution. The feedback was positive which encouraged the IHVN IT team to start the migration.

Amazon WorkMail is a secure, managed business email and calendar service with support for existing desktop and mobile email client applications. Amazon WorkMail gives users the ability to seamlessly access their email, contacts, and calendars using the client application of their choice, including Microsoft Outlook, native iOS and Android email applications, any client application supporting the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), or directly through a web browser.

By migrating to Amazon WorkMail, IVHN was able to reduce the cost of each mailbox by 64%, allowing their IT team to easily manage the corporate email infrastructure and get enterprise grade security.

Overview of migration and challenges

Migrating over 800 mailboxes each with up to 50GB of email came with challenges. IVHN engaged email migration specialist Audriga to support the migration and troubleshoot challenges as they arose. Audriga provides a cloud-based, self-service email migration solution that allows customers to migrate their existing email solution to Amazon WorkMail, without installing any software and with minimal downtime.

The AWS solutions architects worked with IHVN to reduce mailbox size before initiating the migration by archiving the old non-important emails. The customer also provided a test mailbox to allow the solutions architects to perform an end-to-end testing for the migration which proved that the AWS backends deliver sub-second respond to the migration requests.

Audriga had to increase the parallel thread limit for the customer migration, which improved the migration performance and led the customer to successfully migrate their mailboxes.

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria followed AWS best practices during migration. First, IHVN enabled an organization-wide policy that encourages backup of emails and reduces the organization mailbox size. Next, they allowed their users to backup their mailbox before migrating to Amazon WorkMail. They engaged multiple teams inside their organization to identify which users need migration of old emails to the new solution so that they only migrate data for those who need it. Finally, they engaged AWS solutions architects to support the large migration and worked closely with the migration partner to increase the parallel thread limit for a faster migration.

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Learn more about research and technical computing on AWS, AWS in Africa, and Amazon WorkMail.

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Julius Jonathan Akwashiki

Julius Jonathan Akwashiki

Julius Jonathan Akwashiki is the head of enterprise information technology at the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN). Julius oversees technology operations and evaluates them, devising and establishing IT policies and systems, analyzing technological equipment, identifying the need for upgrades, or configurations; and controlling budgets. He plays soccer and loves to travel.

Kirillos Akram

Kirillos Akram

Kirillos Akram is a solutions architect at Amazon Web Services (AWS) working with public sector customers. His areas of interest are containers, networking, and contact centers. Outside of the office, he enjoys traveling and watching soccer.