Optimizing IT for better efficiency and increased security

Submision by Kunal D Mehta

Systems Engineer – Windows Server Platform |
Votes: 655


Technologies used

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Active Directory, SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard, Exchange Server 2010 SP1, Failover Clustering, Hyper-V, System Center Data Protection Manager, Sysinternals Disk2VHD, Internet Information Services (IIS), File Services, Remote Desktop Services, Network Load Balancing.

Problem Statement

There were about 50 client computers using Windows 7 in a workgroup environment. Employees of the organization had local administrative privileges on their PCs. There was no centralized identity and access mechanism. The organization used Office 2010 for most of their day-to-day work. Users shared data with other employees either by using external USB devices or e-mailing it. The company’s e-mail was hosted by a third party. After some internal policy changes, the user identities needed to be streamlined and e-mail infrastructure was preferred to be hosted on a dedicated on-premise server. All data was required to be stored centrally and always available. A custom business-critical web application – DMS being used internally hosted over 200,000 business proposal documents, which used SQL Server at the backend and was proposed to be virtualized.

Solution Description

In order to meet the new requirements of the organization while keeping the cost to a minimum, the following architecture was proposed:
• Two servers were configured with Active Directory Domain Services – one physical as a primary domain controller and another   virtual instance was the secondary domain controller
• Exchange Server 2010 was configured in a DAG for high-availability of mailboxes
• The business-critical web application server (DMS) was virtualized using Sysinternals Disk2VHD
• Failover Clustering was implemented for the backend SQL Server
• System Center Data Protection Manager backed up Active Directory, SQL Server and Exchange Server and the File Server
  Hyper-V cluster was configured on two servers for high-availability of virtual machines. VMs included the secondary domain   controller, System Center Data Protection Manager and the custom web application.
• Desktops were decommissioned and thin clients were brought in place. Remote Desktop Services farm was created to provide   sessions to users
• The Office 2010 suite was provisioned as a RemoteApp to all users using RD Web Access
• All company data was stored on SAN by the file server. User data from the remote session was redirected using folder   redirection

Challenges Faced

Migrating the custom business-critical application DMS was the tricky part. We had to ensure that since the application was no longer using local storage and the IP address of the machine had changed, there were no parts of the application that used hard-coded IP address or drive letters of the older physical machine. Both the issues were taken care of.

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