Amway is a global direct selling company that requires a streamlined and efficient global IT infrastructure. The company uses Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 to achieve this. It has retired management tools, standardized server
configuration, improved service to its independent business owners, and built a more resilient database platform for the business using Microsoft Azure and a hybrid cloud computing model.
Amway offers consumer products and business opportunities through a network of more than 3 million Amway Business Owners (ABOs) globally. The Windows Server Support Team supports approximately 3,600 servers in its Michigan and Malaysia datacenters. The
WebTech Group maintains 600 web servers in its e-commerce environment, including 30 servers that host online business services for ABOs.
IT staffers use Microsoft System Center 2012 datacenter solutions to automate manual server and desktop administration; achieve a zero-touch deployment of the Windows 7 operating system; improve endpoint protection on 6,300 PCs and 3,600 servers; attain
99.98 percent compliance of its 9,000 endpoint devices; and standardize web server configuration to ensure a reliable online retail experience and to support ABO online services.
||We like to be ‘fast followers’ of Microsoft technologies…. Microsoft continues to deliver interoperable, centralized datacenter management tools to help IT staff better serve the business.
| Trey Bruneau
senior system support specialist, Windows Server Support, Amway
Amway wanted to continue to use Microsoft products to improve its datacenter and IT administration. Primarily, it needed to upgrade its outdated global installment of servers running the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) because it had experienced
some downtime. “Our existing iteration of Windows Server did not support DHCP servers sharing a single database, and we wanted to retire the Cisco solution that we had been using to do this,” says Marc Denman, Amway principal system support specialist.
The WebTech Group wanted a better monitoring tool for the Microsoft .NET Framework-based applications that its ABOs use to manage their businesses. “We used a third-party product to monitor these applications, but we couldn’t troubleshoot at the code layer,”
says Stephen Schofield, senior support, web technology support at Amway.
“If there were not enough clues in the logs, we would have to wait until the issue happened again to attempt to troubleshoot,” adds Steve Cole, manager, web technology support at Amway. “We wanted faster issue remediation so that the ABOs can earn revenue
Amway decided to upgrade to the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system and System Center 2012 R2 to continue on its datacenter and IT infrastructure optimization journey. “We like to be ‘fast followers’ of Microsoft technologies, so we wanted to explore
the new features in Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2,” says Trey Bruneau, senior system support specialist, Windows Server Support at Amway. “We’ve seen that Microsoft continues to deliver interoperable, centralized datacenter management tools
to help IT staff better serve the business.”
The Windows Server Support team is using the DHCP failover capability within Windows Server 2012 R2 to configure two servers running DHCP in production in the Ada, Michigan, datacenter to access a single, shared database in a failover cluster. DHCP failover
enables two Microsoft DHCP servers to share service availability information with each other. “By the end of 2014, our entire organization, from a DHCP perspective, should be on this platform,” says Denman.
The team is also using the Configuration Manager component of System Center 2012 R2 to run PowerShell scripts during the operating system deployment process. “The WebTech Group will use PowerShell with Configuration Manager to gain greater flexibility in
running task sequences to further automate software configuration across the e-commerce web server farm,” says Bruneau.
The WebTech Group is using application monitoring capabilities in System Center 2012 R2 to gain better insight into the .NET applications used by the ABOs. The group is assessing the application monitoring capabilities within the Operations Manager component
of System Center 2012 R2. “We are collecting performance and error data from 24 servers in production and it’s been very successful,” says Schofield.
Amway has also taken first steps toward hybrid cloud computing with a proof-of-concept project that migrates some instances of Microsoft SQL Server 2014 to run in the Microsoft Azure cloud computing environment to enhance business continuity.
Amway is taking advantage of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 solutions to build upon its datacenter and IT administration efficiencies. While Amway is only beginning to explore the capabilities of these technologies, IT staff is already
retiring extraneous management tools, improving DHCP performance, standardizing server configuration, providing better service to ABOs, and building a more resilient database platform for the business.
Improve reliability. Where Amway has rolled out the new DHCP solution, IT staff has not seen any downtime. “With DHCP failover, we are confident that our DHCP servers can share service availability information with each other, should a server
become unavailable,” says Denman. “And we get this peace of mind for only the cost of a Windows Server license.”
Support server configuration consistency. “Running more PowerShell scripts within Configuration Manager is a huge win for us because it drives consistency in server configuration,” says Bruneau. “When everyone is building servers the same
way, it standardizes the datacenter, which makes it easier to manage.”
“Achieving identical web server configuration across our e-commerce environment is critical to providing the same level of optimal retail experience for our online customers,” adds Schofield.
Provide better service to ABOs. “By using the application monitoring solution from Microsoft, we are getting better information about the health of our .NET applications to locate the source of an issue,” says Schofield. “We can solve problems
faster for the ABOs.”
For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit: