Deploying Windows Server 2012

McGrathNicol Australia CIO and Kennards Hire IT manager discuss early adoption of Microsoft’s newest server operating system (OS)

Rolling out a new server OS such as Windows Server 2012 doesn’t have to be a struggle for the IT department. Two of Microsoft's Australian customers talk about their deployment and future technology projects.

Speaking at Tech Ed 2012, McGrathNicol Australia technology manager, John Fahey, told delegates that moving to Windows Server 2012 was a “natural progression” for the corporate advisory firm as it had started with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V for its test, development and production environments.

“The biggest advantages [of the new server OS] are the ability to add increased memory capacity to a virtual machine [VM] and replicate data at the Hyper-V layer, which will assist us in setting up a disaster recovery environment,” he said.

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Fahey added that the firm was currently running its direct access environment on Windows Server 2012 with plans to migrate SharePoint intranet and Internet, Exchange 2010, Lync, Dynamics AX and MYOB insolvency software to the new server OS in the future.

In addition, McGrathNicol CIO, Shiran Herath, said that it had recently deployed a hybrid cloud system.

“We want to look at what benefits we can get from having a hybrid cloud to build our disaster recovery [DR] environment with a focus on cost efficiency, supportability, and scalability,” he said.

Aside from the Windows Server 2012 deployment, the firm was also planning to roll out a fleet of HP’s new notebook, the Folio Elite, to the majority of its 300 employees.

“This will provide us with new notebooks running Windows 8 and using direct access, which will enable us to eliminate remote connectivity technologies such as virtual private networks [VPN], making for an easier connectivity to the corporate network,” Herath said.

Keeping IT simple

Kennards Hire IT manager, Richard Fox-Smith, said that deploying technology such as Windows Server 2012 was part of his strategy to simplify IT for the Sydney-based hire company which operates 125 branches across Australia.

“The Hyper V Replication and improved high availably are the main features we were after with the new server OS,” he said.

According to Fox-Smith, Hyper V replication meant his IT department could do cross data centre replication, enabling it to set up a disaster recovery site.

“High availably improvements to VM failover will also help us improve uptime to our business,” he said.

“The idea that there’s no shared storage between data centres worked really well in terms of our [Server] pilot phase because we didn’t have to go out and buy duplicate storage arrays or third party solutions to achieve what we want.”

According to Fox-Smith, the company will potentially save $60,000 per annum by not having to implement a third party offering.

Turning to the future, he said DR was one of the key goals for Kennards Hire.

“Ideally the DR component would not be on premise; it would be in a cloud. But for now, it’s really getting some of those key building blocks in place to enable us to do that,” Fox-Smith said.

Hamish Barwick travelled to Tech Ed 2012 as a guest of Microsoft

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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