NJVC builds and manages IT systems for the United States Department of Defense, national intelligence organizations, and other customers whose IT needs have soared in the midst of a budget-wilting recession. NJVC recently evaluated Windows Server
2012 to get an early look at the IP Address Management feature. By using it, NJVC has demonstrated a 20 percent reduction in IP address management tasks and identified potential savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in third-party IP management solutions.
More efficient IP address management directly affects the service provider’s ability to respond quickly and competitively to customer needs. Automated IP address management also enhances customer network security. NJVC plans to upgrade hundreds of its own
servers and customer servers under its management to Windows Server 2012 to take advantage of the many new capabilities.
Who designs and runs the IT systems behind some of the biggest military organizations in the world? That would be NJVC, a leading contractor for the United States Department of Defense and national intelligence organizations, federal agencies, and commercial
organizations that have highly secure and complex requirements. The contractor’s 1,300 employees provide cloud services, cyber security, data center services, IT services, and print solutions at 160 locations around the world.
In the last five years, NJVC has watched the need for government IT solutions skyrocket while the budgets for funding them have declined. “It’s no secret that the United States government is facing deep budget challenges,” says Bill Cloin, Director for the
NJVC Center for Technology Integration. “But the need for IT solutions at all levels of government is larger than ever. To succeed in this price-sensitive and very competitive environment, we have to do more with less.”
||We’re thrilled at the efficiency impact from Windows Server 2012 IP Address Management. We’ve seen a 20 percent decrease in work for our system administrators, which lets us respond faster to service requests.
| Bill Cloin
Director, Center for Technology Integration, NJVC
The NJVC Center for Technology Integration (CTI) is tasked with identifying new technologies that NJVC and its customers can use to increase the effectiveness and lower the cost of IT. CTI has a large number of test evaluation efforts underway at any given
time and has to be able to create new test and production IT environments quickly. However, IP address management emerged as a bottleneck to service agility.
“The number of computer devices at NJVC and in customer environments is increasing dramatically,” says Ben Kalbfleisch, Systems Engineer for NJVC CTI. “Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are proliferating. They all have to connect to our network,
which means that they all need IP addresses. Just within CTI, we have 585 servers, 742 IP addresses, 66 virtual local area networks, 7 domains, and 45 network switches. IP management became a big problem for us; we needed to manage all these devices and virtual
machines from one central location, but it took a lot of time and cost a lot of money.”
Specifically, NJVC used a spreadsheet and specialized software programs to manage the thousands of IP addresses within its own organization and under its management at customer sites. NJVC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to license tools to manage
Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers and to get those tools to interoperate with other software. By early 2012, CTI system administrators were spending up to 20 percent of their time on IP address management.
Network security was another IP-related concern. In addition to being labor-intensive, manual IP address management was prone to human error; assigning an IP address to the wrong virtual local area network or not putting the correct information into the
tracking spreadsheet could create security vulnerabilities for NJVC customers. Spreadsheet files were also vulnerable to being damaged, deleted, or accessed by unauthorized personnel. “With the kinds of customers that we’re serving, we can’t afford to have
a device address slip-up,” Cloin says.
When NJVC learned about the Windows Server 2012 operating system, which included a new feature called IP Address Management (IPAM), it signed up to participate in the Microsoft Rapid Deployment Program (RDP). IPAM is a framework for discovering, monitoring,
auditing, and managing the IP address space and the associated infrastructure servers. Jonathan Moser, Operations Manager for NJVC CTI, says, “We need to be as efficient as possible, and the IPAM solution in Windows Server 2012 offered to help us there.”
NJVC created a proof-of-concept IP management environment that consisted of two clustered Dell PowerEdge M610 blade servers configured with multiple virtual machines. The host servers ran Windows Server 2012 Datacenter.
“The RDP went very smoothly,” says Kalbfleisch. “We expected the full deployment to take three days, but it took about three hours. We had biweekly status calls with the Microsoft RDP team, and Microsoft Services consultants were onsite to help us implement
IPAM in our environment.”
David Hood, NJVC Senior Systems Engineer, was also involved in the RDP. “When they told me that I was going to be working on the Windows Server 2012 RDP, I was absolutely ecstatic,” he says. “The Microsoft RDP team did a fantastic job. The Microsoft Services
resources gave us a general sanity check on what we were doing; when we had problems, Microsoft Services had a direct connection to the product group and resolved issues within a day. It was absolutely fantastic in terms of the level of service that we received.”
Automated IP Address Management
During the RDP, NJVC tested IPAM and liked what it saw. “IPAM is perfect for us,” Cloin says. “Our goal is to automate our operational processes, and with Windows Server 2012 IPAM, we can eliminate the bottleneck associated with manual IP address management.”
||IPAM is perfect for us. Our goal is to automate our operational processes, and with Windows Server 2012 IPAM, we can eliminate the bottleneck associated with manual IP address management.
| Bill Cloin
Director, Center for Technology Integration, NJVC
In its Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system environment, NJVC had to manually import data from its Active Directory Domain Services domain controllers and DNS and DHCP servers, and integrate that data with its IP address spreadsheet. In the new environment,
Windows Server 2012 automatically discovers domain controllers and DNS and DHCP servers, and allows system administrators to manage all this information from a centralized location. The staff can even break down the IP space by range, block, or individual
IP addresses and see the level of utilization of DHCP and DNS servers.
“With IPAM, we have a visual interface that we can use to see all of our IP information in one place,” Hood says. “We can also use IPAM to gain a general health analysis of our DNS environment. Having IP address management built into the operating system
gives us a cost-effective solution that’s easy to use and manage.”
Additional Functionality to Evaluate
NJVC has already moved into production with IPAM and is evaluating other Windows Server 2012 features to further improve efficiency and reduce costs. “There are so many new capabilities in Windows Server 2012 that we can use in our own and customer environments,”
Hood says. “Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 has advanced hugely from the Windows Server 2008 R2 version. The new ‘shared nothing’ live migration feature is going to be absolutely critical in being able to migrate critical virtualized workloads without having
a back-end shared storage resource.”
NJVC is also interested in improvements to features that support virtual desktop computing. “The virtual desktop infrastructure market is currently owned by a handful of companies, but with Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System Center 2012, Microsoft
is making major inroads,” Hood says. “I’m really looking forward to using the new capabilities.”
NJVC has big plans for Windows Server 2012. It plans to upgrade from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 in other NJVC data centers and then in customer environments. Microsoft Enterprise Agreement licenses will make the broad rollout easy and
affordable. “Microsoft has really improved its licensing,” Cloin says. “I love the Windows Server 2012 Datacenter license, which covers operating system licenses for all virtual machines running on one host.”
By upgrading to Windows Server 2012 for IP address management, NJVC has reduced that work by 20 percent, gained the agility that it needs to remain competitive, and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for itself and the customers it supports. It has
also reduced security risks associated with manual IP address management.
Reduce IP Management Tasks by 20 Percent, Gain Greater Business Agility
NJVC must continuously improve efficiency to meet tight customer deadlines and exceed expectations. “We’re thrilled at the efficiency impact from Windows Server 2012 IP Address Management,” Cloin says. “We’ve seen a 20 percent decrease in work for our
system administrators, which lets us respond faster to service requests.”
||We’re always in highly competitive sales situations, so if we can establish an IT environment in minutes rather than hours or days, it’s a huge advantage for us.
| Bill Cloin
Center for Technology Integration, NJVC
The faster NJVC can respond to customer needs, the stronger its competitive advantage. “We’re always in highly competitive sales situations, so if we can establish an IT environment in minutes rather than hours or days, it’s a huge advantage for us,” Cloin
says. “Within minutes of kicking off a new project, we can have the IT environment ready; IT is no longer a bottleneck. Being fast and being first is critical in our business.”
Save Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
NJVC has been able to reduce capital expenditures associated with acquiring and using third-party IP management tools. “By using Windows Server 2012 IPAM, we can retire third-party IP address management solutions and eliminate the effort of getting those
solutions to work with our infrastructure—an avoidance of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Cloin says. “The fact that IPAM comes with the operating system and automatically works with our Windows-based DNS and DHCP infrastructure is great.”
As a bonus, NJVC can present Windows Server 2012 IPAM to its customers and save them a great deal of time and money. “Many of our customers already own a Microsoft license, so they can take advantage of IPAM at no extra cost and save a significant amount
of money,” Hood says. “Our customers are not going to write us a check for a service offering unless they know that it’s either going to make them money or save them money. IPAM delivers savings on day one, because customers can remove expensive third-party
solutions and begin using a feature that’s included in their Microsoft license.”
Enhance Network Security
From a security standpoint, it is more effective to have IP address information in an automated, centralized format than it is to have that information floating around in spreadsheets. By using IPAM, NJVC can apply Group Policy settings in Active Directory
to make IP address management more secure. “Spreadsheets are just files; as soon as they are shared, you have the risk of data leakage,” Kalbfleisch says. “But when you have a central solution with integrated role-based access controls, you’ve mitigated a
number of security concerns. Considering the security requirements of our customers, this improved level of data integrity is absolutely critical to our business.”
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server drives many of the world’s largest data centers, empowers small businesses around the world, and delivers value to organizations of all sizes in between. Building on this legacy, Windows Server 2012 redefines the category, delivering hundreds
of new features and enhancements that span virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more. Simply put, Windows Server 2012 helps you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of
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