KCS Tech Team Update
Our IT Engineers have had a vast number of big projects over the past six months, many with their own set of challenges. Here is an overview of a few interesting projects:
Enterprise Grade Network
Back in November a customer moving to a large new set of premises commissioned an enterprise grade network at their new premises. Having decided to provision a leased line at the office, the decision was made to underpin this connection with Cisco Catalyst 2960 switches. Cisco is very much the last word in the world of business networks and this significant investment in their network allows them to effectively manage and run five distinct networks alongside each other.
From this base, they are now running four separate companies, guest WiFi and EPOS systems across a large main office and outlying customer facing buildings. Each of these networks is isolated from each other, protecting each network from each other and keeping the customer card data secure.
This ongoing project continues to grow and new network segments are provisioned as portions of building work are completed. The nature of the network switches means that the network can be expanded and grown whilst still honouring the existing configuration with the minimum of effort.
Full Server Migration for Retail Customer
Following on from a Disaster Recovery event last March, one of our large retail customers has just completed a full server migration. In a perfect example of how a Business Continuity solution should run, one of two physical servers failed last year, the week before Easter weekend. With this being one of their busiest periods, we set their Datto business continuity device into action and got them back up and running the same morning. The Datto device ran their servers over the weekend giving us time to spec and order a replacement. Once the dust had settled, we used the Datto device to restore the servers to the new hardware and they have been running happily on that since.
The second phase of the project was to upgrade from their ageing Server 2008 operating systems to Server 2012R2. The migration has involved a number of the complications that we look out for including moving third party line of business software, migration of accounts and payroll data and provisioning of a full new domain with new user accounts for everyone. In addition, the company moved over to Office 365 for email provisioning, giving them the flexibility of a cloud solution combined with the full feature set of an in house email server without the associated price tag.
Remote Access for Fire Damaged businesses
A recent fire nearby one customer’s site meant that temporarily the office staff had to move in with a nearby Good Samaritan. As they have two offices with data replicated between them, we provisioned remote access from this new office to their second office allowing to get back up and running the same morning. This has run into a longer term project to move their office down the road temporarily. For this, the speedy provisioning of an internet connection will be required and the moving of their server and client PCs to the new office. We expect the internet connection to be provisioned within the next couple of weeks and the move of Server and PCs to take place within a day.
A Cautionary Tale – Multi Phase Project for Charity Customer
We have an ongoing multi-phase project still running for a charity customer. The server project was discussed for some time but came to a head when their backup system became increasingly erratic. A four phase project is currently in place.
First and foremost, the backup / disaster recovery / business continuity solution for any company must be up to the job. (A cautionary tale on this subject follows.) In this case they opted for a dedicated BDR device running Veeam, a tried and tested backup solution. A BDR server’s job is to take over from your primary server in the event that it fails, and in this case it was provisioned and set to begin backing up the old server.
Phase two was the provisioning of a new physical server, ready to migrate to. During this time, the existing server became increasingly unstable and its care pack expired. Rather than risking it finally failing and having to pay for an expensive care pack, the decision was made to move the virtual servers from the old server to the new one. This allows them to continue functioning exactly as before, but with the benefit of new warrantied hardware.
Phase three will be the migration of email from the old mail server to Office 365, again the cost of an entire mail server can be saved whilst retaining the full feature set.
Finally phase four will be the migration to a new domain and will involve close cooperation with third party software vendors to ensure that downtime is kept to a minimum and that these vendors have access to all the resources they need.
Before we sign off from this post, we will leave you with some server and network cabinet photos – some good examples of how they should look!