Active Directory, Exchange 2010 High Availability Solution
INTERCOM PROGRAMMING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY LIMITED (IPMC)
Report Date: 20th August, 2011
GRIDCo Organizational Profile
GRIDCo was established in accordance with the Energy Commission Act, 1997 (Act 541) and the Volta River Development (Amendment) Act, 2005 Act 692, which provides for the establishment and exclusive operation of the National Interconnected Transmission System by an independent Utility and the separation of the transmission functions of the Volta River Authority (VRA) from its other activities within the framework of the Power Sector Reforms.
GRIDCo was incorporated on December 15, 2006 as a private limited liability company under the Companies Code, 1963, Act 179 and granted a certificate to commence business on December 18, 2006. The company became operational on August 1, 2008 following the transfer of the core staff and power transmission assets from VRA to GRIDCo
GRIDCo’s main functions are to:
Undertake economic dispatch and transmission of electricity from wholesale suppliers (generating companies) to bulk customers, which include the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Northern Electricity Department (NED) and the Mines; Provide fair and non-discriminatory transmission services to all power market participants;
Acquire, own and manage assets, facilities and systems required to transmit electrical energy;
Provide metering and billing services to bulk customers;
Carry out transmission system planning and implement necessary investments to provide the capacity to reliably transmit electric energy; and manage the Wholesale Power Market.
The establishment of GRIDCo is intended to develop and promote competition in Ghana's wholesale power market by providing transparent, non-discriminatory and open access to the transmission grid for all the participants in the power market particularly, power generators and bulk consumers and thus bring about efficiency in power delivery.
1.1 Initial Situation
The previous Microsoft infrastructure was built on VRA Data Center without any disaster recovery solution. It consisted of a mix of VRA infrastructure. GRIDCo’s Business Activity completely went down during the second quarter of 2011 because of a fire caught at the VRA Datacenter. It became completely helpless and was dependent on VRA’s response.
GRIDCo wanted to have a new Datacenter, a fully modern Microsoft infrastructure and make new technology and function enhancements available to the users when they move for a new office site. The solution must cover:
• Minimum hardware cost
• Minimum Power consumption
• Minimum Software licenses
• Easy and centralized management
• The complete system must be automate ( does not want to struggle with DR site if Production goes down)
GRIDCo users must be accessible of their emails from office, portable devices like laptop, mobiles or web access from anywhere in world. Based on the request, IPMC provided a Microsoft high availability infrastructure solution which includes Microsoft Windows 2008 Active Directory for Central Authentication, Microsoft Exchange 2010 for business communication and Forefront Security to secure Data center. A total of six servers were used to achieve this goal include Production and DR site. The idea behind the solution was to have complete redundancy of email services, security and authentication in situations where the production service was facing downtimes. The solution provides a centralized email database, a central Authentication and a central management platform. It also provides protection of emails by spam filter and a secure internet access for users.
Today, GRIDCo has a Microsoft based Data center, implemented using best practices, stringent Security at the Gateway, reliable and secure communication and complete automated Data center services in case the Production Data center goes down. The servers are available 99.9% of the time; users are accessing their emails from the laptop, mobiles or web access from anywhere at work. GRIDCo IT staff now centrally managing and control emails policy, centralize backup and easy management. There is a reduction of 99% spam from their emails.
Completely free from VRA Network, no Business communication loss.
1.6 Project Steps
The initial project started August 2010 with an inventory and the definition of the specifications.
Migration in such way means adding new machine to the existing Infrastructure; introduce a new Active Directory, Exchange and TMG. Move all existing users from VRA to GRIDCo’s Active Directory, move all organization settings, all mailboxes from old VRA’s mail server to the new Exchange 2010.
GRIDCo has a fiber link connection between their Tema site (Production site) and Akosombo site (DR site). IPMC made a replication of Active Directory, Exchange and TMG at the DR site.
Redundancy and Load Balancing
Complete redundancy and load balancing of AD and Exchange
1.7 The Solution in a Nutshell
• Two 64 bit Physical servers for Active directory 2008 (One at PR site and another at DR site)
• Two 64 bit Physical Servers for Exchange (One at PR site and another at DR site)
• Two 64 bit Physical Servers for TMG (One at PR site and another at DR site)
• Two separately Internet connections (One at PR site and another at DR site)
• Microsoft Windows 2008 Enterprise Edition
• Microsoft Exchange 2010
• Microsoft Treat Management Gateway 2010
• Microsoft Forefront for Exchange
1.8 Points of Contact:
Below are the names of the key responsible personnel for the project:
Name - Shalini Bali
Position - Microsoft Product sales Manager
Project Manager - David Sadde
Rupesh Sinha - Microsoft Infrastructure Solution Consultant
Ernest - Microsoft Technical Engineer
IPMC Provides -
Expert Teams: IPMC has a team of experts with an experience of over 10 years.
Dedicated Account Manager:
He also serves as a project co-coordinator for day to day progress of the project. He is a single point of contact between the client and IPMC. He makes sure that materials required are delivered on time and work closely with the Project Manager.
Dedicated Project Manager:
Having total 14 years of experience & out of those 9 years’ experience only in IPMC. He makes sure that everything is planned and implemented in a systematic way. He is the escalation point of contact for client and directly responsible for Quality of the services delivered.
We have our own warehouse, loaders, Delivery Van and thus make sure that IPMC don’t have to be dependent on others and make sure all the material is supplied on time.
We have installed the project with in time lines and we made sure the business continuity was not affected as we put 3 teams on this project.