Synopsis:New VMware vSphere implementation along with a unified storage system, migration of Active directory and Microsoft Exchange to virtual machines, server consolidation by way of converting physical servers to virtual machines, new core switch installation to replace stack of switches and reconfigure network subnet into VLANs to separate network appliances/devices, servers and workstations. Backups to new disk based backup appliance with replication to the cloud.
The founders of Giant were craftsmen and engineers. They understood their strengths. So to make cycling more enjoyable and accessible to people around the world, they did what they knew best. They set out to improve the cycling experience by following three guiding principles: craftsmanship, innovation and inspiration.
It began with lightweight aluminum frames. Giant’s ability to produce high-quality bikes at an affordable price allowed more riders to experience cycling in a whole new way. Since then, Giant has pioneered advancements in both aluminum and composite engineering. They’ve introduced the first affordable carbon fiber bike, the Cadex 980 C, and transformed high-performance road bikes with their Total Compact Road design. In mountain biking, Giant’s Maestro Suspension established a new level of performance for off-road riding and racing.
Over the last four decades, Giant has grown well beyond its manufacturing roots to become the world’s leading brand of quality bicycles and gear. With more than 12,000 retail partners worldwide, they aim to inspire adventure in all riders, from casual to competitive.
Giant Bicycle is one of Synegi’s most longstanding customers. For close to 12 years, Synegi has been providing various consulting services in regards to software installations/configurations, workstations, servers, switches, firewalls/routers, storage and so on. Giant Bicycles, an international company, has its corporate office located Newbury Park California and has remote offices in other states of the US, Canada, Mexico and Taiwan. All of Giant Bicycle’s resources (servers, data, etc.) are located in Newbury Park with all of the remote locations connected via a VPN tunnel. Recently, Giant approached Synegi as it was time to upgrade the outdated hardware and software. Also, the advent of newer mobile devices not being able to connect to network resources became a problem. Data growth along with backing up tape was also drawing concern as storage space was becoming scarce and backup windows were increasing. Along with addressing these issues, another company concern was to segregate network devices into VLANs. The current switching infrastructure was dated and there was concern from a support standpoint to get it upgraded as well.
A holistic solution, consisting of 3 new HP DL380 G6 servers with adequate processing power and memory to run VMware ESXi along, a unified storage system from EMC and a new HP 5400 E-Series switch was installed and configured to support the new virtual environment. Installing the new core switch consisted of first creating VLANs and segregating network devices by role (network appliances, workstations, servers, iSCSI/NFS, etc.) and changing subnets accordingly. After the new networking was in place, the project proceeded with the deployment of ESXi and vCenter as well as the installation and configuration of the EMC VNXe 3300. Once the ESXi hosts were configured properly for networking, shared storage and HA, new virtual machines were created running Windows 2008 R2 to become the new domain controllers and Exchange 2010 server. Active Directory was upgraded to 2008 R2 from 2003. The Active Directory Schema was also extended to support the installation of an Exchange 2010 server in the environment. Exchange mailboxes were migrated from Exchange 2003 to the new Exchange 2010 server with plenty of space for data growth. The next phase was to then convert the majority of physical servers to virtual machines. All other networking services (DNS/DHCP/Print) were configured appropriately on the new machines and all of the old physical servers were decommissioned and removed from the network, per Microsoft best practices. As the project was winding down, the last and most important phase was configuring backups to ensure protection of data. The barracuda backup appliance was configured to perform various backup jobs (file level, exchange message level and SQL database) and replicate offsite to barracuda’s backup cloud.
With the installation and configuration of a new, core switching infrastructure along with the new servers and software, overall performance was significantly improved. Upgrading Active Directory to the latest version made more group policy features available to improve the logon experience on the workstations as well as enforce new security features. The upgrade to Exchange 2010 improved user e-mail experience inside as well as outside the office with Outlook Anywhere and support for newer mobile devices. With over 80% of the infrastructure now virtualized and running upon a clustered VMware vSphere infrastructure, some protection was gained in terms of being protected by VMware HA. The ability to easily upgrade VM resources (virtual CPU and virtual Memory) in the event VM performance becomes an issue was also gained. As another data safety net, SAN volume based snapshots on the VNXe 3300 were configured on daily interval. Backups with the new Barracuda backup appliance have significantly reduced backup windows, due to the deduplication and compression the appliance achieves, as well as replicates data off-site. The servers are fully protected, data can be restored granularly at any time and in the event of a disaster, a bare metal restore of any one of the servers can be performed.
- Older versions of Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange lacked new features.
- Need to upgrade outdated physical HP servers.
- Need additional storage space to accommodate virtual machines, e-mail and data growth.
- Need new backup solution to eliminate the use of tape, reduce backup window and replicate offsite.
- New switching infrastructure and configuration of VLANs.
- HP DL380 G6 Servers.
- VMware vSphere (including vCenter and ESXi).
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- Active Directory 2008 R2
- Exchange 2010 Standard
- Barracuda Backup Appliance BBS 690.
- EMC VNXe 3300 Storage System.
- HP E-Series 5412zl Core switch.
- Converted older physical servers to virtual machines that run on new HP servers.
- Upgrade Active Directory from 2003 to 2008 R2.
- Upgrade Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 with Archive mailboxes.
- Faster, efficient, whole-server disk backups that replicate to the cloud.
- New, more efficient switching infrastructure that allows for growth, configured for VLANs to meet the customer requirement of segregating network devices.
- Improved user experience both on-site and remote.
- Protection from SAN snapshots and flexibility of new servers running in a virtualized environment.
- Savings increase and reduced power consumption as 4 physical servers were removed from the environment.