Technology is a critical component of every aspect of Chicago Board of Elections’ operation, from online instruction courses and examinations to corporate programs and marketing. Burdened with nagging network downtime, connectivity issues and increasing outages that its previous managed services provider was unable to overcome, Training Consultant sought a resolution that would deliver the high availability needs and optimal bandwidth usage it needed.
Seeking to enhance the hardware supporting its key business applications as well as its public website and customer-accessible extranet, Chicago Board of Elections needed to migrate its core business infrastructure to continue supporting its business.
Moreover, in the span of the last few years, the IT needs of the company have increased substantially, with new demands emerging for additional IT capacity and new storage locations for data have come.
With its IT infrastructure built primarily on Microsoft and related technologies, Chicago Board of Elections approached Microsoft to recommend a cloud-based solution, based on Microsoft Azure technology. Microsoft Azure is a growing collection of integrated cloud services—analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web—for moving faster, achieving more, and saving money.
Microsoft enlisted the assistance of The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in solving the IT challenges of modern professional services organizations like Chicago Board of Elections.
1. Setup Azure VM configuration for two web apps
2. Configure high availability, auto scaling, and load balancing for Web apps
3. Provision a single SQL Server on Azure VM
4. Enable SQL server high availability and DR configuration
5. Performance tune SQL server and data disks configuration
6. https and custom domain configuration for Web application VM’s
7. Cloud only VNET configuration and subnet design and provisioning
8. Azure VM File server provisioning for WPF application upgrades
9. Knowledge transfer and documentation.
The main objectives of the project were to achieve a secure and stable IT infrastructure, which would be flexible to accommodate future growth, while achieving financial cost efficiencies.
Logistically speaking, in terms of the actual deployment, as Chicago Board of Elections delivers a wide range of training and testing services for its corporate clients and individual users on an ongoing basis, it could not afford to halt work for deployment. Migration had to be implemented without outage of server access and break in the work of employees.
Acquiring practical experience with the migration to the Microsoft Azure environment was also a key mandate.
RESULTS & BENEFITS
The Henson Group designed, implemented, and migrated Chicago Board of Elections’ current software to Microsoft’s Azure “cloud” services environment. The migration of the client’s software included moving the applications from the client’s old server to multiple Azure VMs, installation of the existing software, software upgrades, troubleshooting, general configuration and support.
Henson Group preserved the Chicago Board of Elections’ internal domain and VPN connectivity, but provided secure (https) access to all applications.
Each Azure VM was sized to meet the specific application running on it. This was done with some, but minimal changes to the applications.
The project was completed with two months.
Today, Chicago Board of Elections is experiencing much better infrastructure performance with the Azure cloud solution. The client does not have to support or maintain hardware anymore as the modern hardware is maintained by Microsoft and kept up to date. The solution allows the VMs to grow as the business grows.
Thanks to the migration into Azure a much higher level of securing the servers and data of the company Chicago Board of Elections was achieved. Meanwhile, Chicago Board of Elections now has its IT infrastructure accessible at 99.9 % without any investments into hardware.
In terms of cost efficiencies, Chicago Board of Elections shed its cumbersome managed services contract in favor of Azure’s pay-as-you-go services that it can now more efficiently and quickly scale up or down to match the growth demand for its business. Per-minute billing and a commitment to match competitor prices for popular infrastructure services like compute, storage and bandwidth mean Chicago Board of Elections will consistently achieves cost-effective expense management of its infrastructure.
Server administration for Chicago Board of Elections was significantly simplified and became more effective. Only servers, which are necessary, are used, and that only in the time, when it is necessary. Developers can install servers according to their need and requirements of their work.
Significant benefit of Microsoft Azure lies in the possibility of scaling operation. The solution enables flexible increase in IT server capacities. The original hardware limitations thus no longer exist.
• Improved agility
• Increased elasticity
• Improved quality
• Redundancy and resiliency
• Risk reduction
• Greater efficiency
•Windows Server 2012
•Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
•Microsoft System Center 2012
•Windows Azure Pack for System Center
To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft Azure deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner The Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com or call +1.800.980.1130.