SRF must maintain an excellent messaging infrastructure to help its dispersed workforce do their day to day operations efficiently. For several years, the company has used Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 as its Messaging solution across the Globe. Employees use Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Outlook 2010 to manage their email messages. Employees use Outlook data files (PST) files to store messaging data that exceeds the limit. There was an over reliance on email as the main means of communication often resulting in it being misused for communications better handled through other means. The resulting overload of messages was causing important emails to get missed in the pile. The need was to have a variety of solutions like MS Lync and SharePoint to handle the differing communication needs.
While the company decided to upgrade it email infrastructure and application it also decided to deploy an advanced Unified Communicationsolution to better support its distributed workforce. The company wanted a solution that could integrate with its messaging solution and provide for all of the company’s conferencing needs. SRF also wanted to increase collaboration by adding instant messaging and presence to the communications options provided to its staff and bringing its workforce more closer. The solution should be conveniently accessible through various mediums within and beyond the company wide area network.
SRF also required to upgrade its existing windows 2003 Active directory which was end of support from Microsoft and adapt Windows 2008 R2 active directory. To support increasing user strength atplant locations and at remote and branch offices a local ADC was required at respective locationsalong with system management deployment nodes.
To support the upgraded, infrastructure SRF required a virtualization & management solution which can accommodate dynamic server requirement with minimized physical Hardware infra and maximize the utilization. The company also required to put up an automated mechanism to monitor critical application server and services which can closely integrate in multiplatform environment like network, storage, and physical server and Virtualization farm.
In order to be with latest technology SRF decided to automate client system management with capabilities of asset management, software & patch management and maintain a standardized end user experience.
SRF evaluated multiple vendors and selected PC Solutions because of their professional capabilities and expertise in multipleplatformsand being aMicrosoft Gold Certified Partner. Through discussions and consultation, it was realized thatthe entire up-gradation and deployment can be done with a single approach and with a Partner like PC Solutions who has the professionalbandwidth and expertise in various technologies that SRF requires.
Microsoft, PC Solutions along with the SRF team diddeep dive envisioning and planning activities to design the solution based on the understanding of business needs and challenges. The solution involved a major break with following components:
1. Seamless migration to AD 2008 services and Exchange 2010 with no downtime.
2. Hyper-V virtualization at DR and Plant nodes hosting SCCM and ADC
3. System center suite for Management of Server and client infra at DC and Plant Nodes.
4. Deployment of Lync 2010 as unified communication solution which will integrate to Exchange Messaging.
SRF decided to deploy the Exchange solution on Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systemin production on a virtualized environment running on existing VMware environment. It decided to do the DR deployment on a Hyper V virtualization layer. At its two data centers, the company deployed three load balanced Client Access Servers. It also deployed three mailbox servers in a database availability group. For disaster recovery and backup, SRF is keeping three active copies of its mailbox databases to ensure a highly available environment.
SRF chose to deploy Microsoft Lync Server 2010, which provides a unified solution for instant messaging, presence, meetings, and voice. SRF was impressed with the Microsoft Lync 2010 client. It liked the ease of use that the client provided, and it also liked the interoperability with other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server,SharePoint and video conferencing devices.
Now users in diversified locations can connect to each other from their PC to placeLync calls. This brings down the delay incommunicating and cost of communication.SRF has benefitted from cost reductions, improved business processes, faster customer services and better employee bonding. The company is also doing trials of EPBX integration to check viability.
Reducing Cost By using Lync 2010, SRF employees can avoid travel. “Instead of traveling for meetings, trainings we are holding more videoconferences by using Lync.“ – Says Sayan Ray – AVP Corporate IT- Applications.
By upgrading to Exchange Server 2010, SRF can provide a highly available messaging infrastructure that continues to support business critical communication as its employees have come to expect along-with much bigger mailboxes.
Increasing availability and resilience.By implementing database availability groups, SRF can ensure its messaging solution is available for employees. “The high availability and resilience features in Exchange Server 2010 were the main reasons we wanted to deploy the solution,” explains Jaspreet Nanda, Manager IT infrastructure at SRF.
It also expects to reduce costs for storage. “The ability to use lower-cost storage with Exchange Server 2010 is a crucial benefit for us,” says Sanjay Rao. “Overall, we expect significant cost savings for our messaging environment.”
The initial reaction to the Lync Server 2010 deployment at SRF has been overwhelmingly positive. Many activities like business reviews, interviews, trainings have shifted to this platform.
Hyper-V Virtualization & System Center
Using Hyper-V virtualization technology, SRF will consolidate the server environment that streamlines deployment of new services. The company sees tangible benefits with the implementation of a private cloud.
Reduces Costs & get Single support window
Transition to a virtual environment will help SRF consolidate the number of physical servers. With consolidation and optimization, the company will be able to use its hardware much more effectively, which will contribute to significant cost saving of critical server and services. Jaspreet Nanda- Manager Corporate IT Infrastructure
Automated Client & Server Management
With SCCM 2010 & SCOM 2010 SRF now automates critical business processes of client asset management and Monitoring critical datacenter services. “SCOM 2010 supports monitoring and reporting of non- Microsoft platforms also which simplifies the proactive monitoring.