The Integr8 Group, a Microsoft Certified Gold partner, has seen off a number of competitors vying for a tender to provide virtualisation services as well as the deployment of additional Microsoft services for NBC Holdings (‘NBC’), a company specialising in the administration of retirement funds. Technical experts at the Integr8 Group have completed the initial phases of the project with positive results.

As the trusted technology services and support partner to NBC, the Integr8 Group has made a lasting impression on its client, having installed a new virtualised security and disaster recovery platform. This has boosted the technical capacity, inter-branch connectivity and resource utilisation at the local financial services provider.

The newly installed virtualised, security and disaster recovery infrastructure covers all existing and new NBC branches. The Integr8 Group was requested to provide an Active Directory cleanup, Exchange 2010 Message and Collaboration platform, Terminal Services and Management & Monitoring solution.

Executive management at NBC identified a number of key business objectives requirements.

Up to 37 servers at NBC were identified as virtualisation candidates. These servers were analysed in order to understand the load on them and projections were made to determine how many servers would be required to provide a comparable level of services.

According to the results of the analysis a minimum of two servers are required to provide the same level of service. This was adjusted by 30% to provide additional capacity for future growth and to provide a comfort buffer.

The servers are also configured in a cluster configuration, which allows for fast transfer of the virtual servers to a different physical server to allow for scheduled maintenance on the host servers and to deal with unexpected hardware failure of the host.

Technical consultants at the Integr8 Group agree that a ratio of three active servers to one passive or standby server provides a good balance between availability and uptime.

“We developed a comprehensive strategy, based on a phased approach, to ensure that all requirements were covered. The first phase involved a project definition workshop with all interested parties in order to agree on the scope of the project. A key requirement for this project was to ensure continuous availability of new information, communication and technology resources and that the solution caters for flexibility and scalability going forward,” said Robert Sussman, joint CEO at the Integr8 Group.

Integr8 Group Consulting Services suggested and formally put forward a Microsoft Server 2008 R 2 Hyper-V solution backed by Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and SCVMM tools to successfully manage and maintain the advanced back office infrastructure.

“We also integrated the latest release of Exchange 2010 as a messaging and collaboration platform. This helps our client achieve better business outcomes while controlling the costs of deployment, administration and compliance,” adds Sussman.

This infrastructure and support services, which included a comprehensive design of Exchange 2010 has made a substantial difference to the client’s ability to secure electronic communication.

This is a fundamental component of the NBC’s overall ICT management strategy – be it the dissemination of corporate information, the encryption of general electronic data and protection of brand and corporate image.

Terminal services also formed part of the Integr8 Group’s service and support offering to NBC.

“We recommended the installation of a terminal server cluster in the DC to allow applications to be published to the end-user. All business-critical applications will be centrally administered by NBC Internal IT Support Administrators and staff, with assistance from Integr8IT. This will allow for ease on upgrades to application spread across the continent and especially to all branches. We believe the investment by NBC in Integr8 will continue to pay dividends,” adds Sussman.

Shaybaaz Kumandan, IT Manager at NBC, said Integr8 Group has proven its worth and value as a trusted and most capable ICT services partner.

“Our partnership with Integr8 has empowered us – not only from a technological point of view, but also in terms of general process and procedure. We look forward to being in a position to leverage off this infrastructure and enhance our standing in the market, our competitive advantage and our general influence in the industry,” says Kumandan.