Oil giant BP will migrate and upgrade its Microsoft Exchange servers into a private cloud on a pay-per-use model.

The company has selected T-Systems to run the application out of a twin-core data centre in Germany, serving more than 83,000 employees worldwide.

T-Systems will migrate more than 100,000 BP mailboxes onto Exchange 2010, and deliver the service to a variety of popular handsets, including Blackberry, Android and the Apple iPhone.

The migration is due to complete in June 2013 and will last for five years, but no estimated contract value was provided by the companies.

Dana Deasy, BP Group CIO, said: “We are looking forward to working as partners with T-Systems to enable BP employees to connect and collaborate using any device, anywhere, at any time.”

CIO UK sister title Computerworld UK spoke to Sam Kingston, managing director of T-Systems in the UK, who explained that BP was motivated by the desire to move off aging technology.

He said: “BP currently has a 2003 Exchange solution. It’s a service that would be classified as ‘vintage’ and doesn’t embrace Microsoft’s latest capabilities. There was a real burning need because the service was not what they wanted it to be."

“It is looking for a stable service, but they are also looking to gain efficiencies that you would expect from moving to a cloud solution. They want a pay-per-use model, greater cost transparency, and consequently, a greater predictability of their costs,” he added.

“After the migration they will be able to stand back and understand far more about their environment.”

BP employees will be over in phases, one business unit at a time. The number of these business units is thought to be in double digits. 

Kingston explained that the main challenge is the allocated 10-month migration timeframe.

“We are going to stand up the service, migrate the users and data over, but the challenge is ensuring that this occurs seamlessly and smoothly,” said Kingston.

“There is a challenge with the speed of the migration. Only 10 months, for this many mailboxes and users, can be seen as a very big challenge. We are up for it though, and we believe we have the capability to do it.”

The T-Systems messaging services solution is based on its Dynamic Services for Collaboration (DSC) suite of integrated offerings, providing the foundation for collaboration tools such as Lync and SharePoint. T-Systems has also partnered with EMC Consulting to carry out the mailbox migration process.