“We selected Kemp for its ease of configuration and management, for its lower total cost of ownership, because of the Microsoft certification and its capacity to replace the Microsoft TMG as a reverse SIP Proxy."
Victrix (Quebec, Canada) is a leading IT solutions provider with a customer base consisting of numerous educational institutions. As part of its various practices, Victrix provides Microsoft based solutions for e-mail, web and Unified Communications (UC) applications to a number of universities, colleges and school boards both in Quebec, as well as other Canadian provinces.
Kemp Technologies was chosen by Victrix as its technology partner to deliver the application delivery controller layer of the Victrix-designed e-mail, UC and web solution for a public college in Montreal. Kemp was the right choice to deliver application load balancing for Microsoft Exchange and Lync solutions because of its Microsoft Gold Certification in messaging and communications and its market leading position in the education segment, which has also been recently recognized by Dell’Oro Group and the Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).
According to Christophe Boucetta, a senior Microsoft MVP, “We have selected Kemp for its ease of configuration and management, for its lower total cost of ownership, because of the Microsoft certification and its capacity to replace the Microsoft TMG as a reverse SIP Proxy. We were looking for a high availability solution capable to be deployed without the Microsoft TMG, in a Microsoft Lync environment, and of course doing the https flows load balancing."
A public college located in Montreal was embarking on a large scale IT modernization project with the goal of creating a complete and integrated unified communication system. Victrix was chosen as the systems integrator to meet the following requirements:
- Support several thousand users, including administration, teachers and students
- Provide email services via multiple channels and applications, including client based, web & mobile based email delivery
- Deliver unified communication and replace the existing legacy PBX system
- Enable online meetings with both inside and outside participants, including the ability to collaborate via screen sharing, white-boarding, file sharing as well as audio and video conferencing
- Facilitate online user training
In order to fulfill the above described requirements, the solution that Victrix designed incorporated Microsoft applications. In an effort to provide the most efficient resource utilization, while delivering high availability for these mission critical applications, Victrix leveraged the college’s virtualized infrastructure and Kemp’s virtual load balancer and deployed two Kemp VLM-1000 Virtual LoadMasters in a high availability (HA) configuration.
Due to the large number of end-users, the solution called for multiple front-end Lync servers as well as for multiple CAS servers on the Exchange application. Although rudimentary load balancing can be achieved by other means, in order to afford the high availability and redundancy for several thousand users, a dedicated application delivery controller (ADC)/load balancer was required. Kemp Technologies’ LoadMaster family of ADC/load balancers provided a perfect mix of basic load balancing features and robust performance, and are optimized and easy to deploy for Microsoft Lync, Exchange and SharePoint applications. As an added value to using Kemp’s products, application level awareness on those same key Microsoft applications enable the overall solution to intelligently deliver end-user experience (UX) enhancements by monitoring individual application availability in real time. Kemp’s Virtual LoadMaster dynamically monitors the state of the three applications sub components to ensure close to 100% reliability and uptime.
As a result, Victrix has chosen the architecture below as a reference design
Figure 1EExchange deployment reference design using Kemp ADC
Results to Date
- The complete deployment took less than 2 days
- System was in operation since July 2013, on time for back to school
- IT department as the first user of the system has been using it as a telephony tool
- Additional departments are currently being migrated onto the fully featured platform
- The straightforward implementation and end-user deployment encountered no major roadblocks
- The integrator’s view is that deploying the Kemp appliances has been straightforward and the resulting complete solution works well
Furthermore, Victrix considers this solution as a textbook case for all colleges and other educational institutions.