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Category Archives: Azure

This Patterns and Practices resource depicts common problems in designing cloud-hosted applications and design patterns that offer guidance. These design patterns are useful for building reliable, scalable, secure applications in the cloud.

Each pattern describes the problem that the pattern addresses, considerations for applying the pattern, and an example based on Microsoft Azure. Most of the patterns include code samples or snippets that show how to implement the pattern on Azure. However, most of the patterns are relevant to any distributed system, whether hosted on Azure or on other cloud platforms. Also see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/patterns/

About the Client
Based in Irvine, CA, ADC Technologies is an innovative provider of supply chain execution solutions to the mid-market using automated data collection technologies.

Business Situation
Technology is an important part of ADC Technologies operation and has been integrated into nearly every aspect of the business. The client began experiencing problems with connectivity and network downtime that its previous service provider could not solve. In addition, the technology needs of the company had increased substantially over the past few years, increasing the need for IT capacity and data storage. ADC Technologies sought a solution that would address its need for high availability and increased bandwidth.

ADC Technologies had IT infrastructure that was based on Microsoft technology, so the client asked Microsoft to recommend a cloud based solution that was based on Microsoft Azure technology. Microsoft Azure is a group of cloud services that help companies work faster, accomplish more, and save money.

To accomplish this task, Microsoft engaged the services of Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in solving the IT challenges of organizations like ADC Technologies.

Solution
ADC Technologies worked closely with The Henson Group to determine the best solution to these problems. After careful review, a decision was made to move the ADC Technologies infrastructure to Azure. This process would include:

  • Creating several virtual networks
  • Creating serval PaaS Azure SQL Databases
  • Creating multiple Web Servers in multiple Geos
  • Migrating a dozen Web Apps from on premise to Azure
  • Migrating databases from on premise SQL to Azure SQL

Objectives
The goals of this project were to provide ADC Technologies with an IT infrastructure that was would save money while increasing security and stability. To accomplish these aims, The Henson Group recommended the client move to an Azure solution.

Results & Benefits
The Henson Group designed, implemented, and migrated ADC Technologies current software to Microsoft’s Azure “cloud” services environment saving ADC $30,000 per year in TCO. 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.

The Henson Group preserved the client’s 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 only minimal changes to the applications.

The project was completed with two months.

Benefits
Today, ADC Technologies 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 was achieved. Meanwhile, ADC Technologies now has its IT infrastructure accessible at 99.9 % without any investments into hardware.

In terms of cost efficiencies, the client 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 computers, storage and bandwidth mean ADC Technologies will consistently achieves cost-effective expense management of its infrastructure.

Server administration for the client 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. Improvements include:

  • Improved agility
  • Increased elasticity
  • Improved quality
  • Redundancy and resiliency
  • Risk reduction
  • Greater efficiency
  • $30,000/year cost savings

Products

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Azure SQL Database
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
  • 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.

About the Client
Smartsoft is a leading provider of workflow management software.  Smartsoft has helped top American businesses improve returns on investment, decrease costs, and increase efficiency in operations.  Since its founding in 1997, Smartsoft has grown to become a full service company for its SAP clients.

Business Situation
Given Smartsoft’s continued growth, it needed a more resilient and elastic environment and decided to switch from on premise infrastructure to Azure.  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. Smartsoft enlisted the assistance of Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in solving the IT challenges of companies like Smartsoft.

Solution
Henson Group team moved the customer from on premise infrastructure to Azure. The customer had issues with their on-premise Infrastructure and wanted to be moved to a more resilient and elastic environment. Henson Group worked with the client to complete the migration of their servers which included applications and SQL servers. The high-level deliverables included:

  • Build a new Windows 2012 R2 server
  • Add server to Active Directory and configure access
  • Install SQL Express 2008 R2 on new server
  • Move data from existing MS061 server to Azure server (~120 GB)
  • Move 2 SQL express 2008 R2 databases to new server
  • Move 4-5 IIS Application to new server
  • Support testing on server and applications
  • Final migration of SQL databases on go-live

Objectives
The primary objectives of this project were to increase the resiliency and elasticity of Smartsoft environment to prepare for future growth while maintaining low costs.

Henson Group was also tasked with improving the quality and efficiency of the system, while reducing risk.  Upgrades were to be made with minimal disruption to the work at Smartsoft.

In addition, Smartsoft wanted to gain practical experience during the transition to Microsoft Azure.

Results and Benefits
The Henson Group oversaw the development, implementation, and transition for Smartsoft from on premise to Azure.  The transition included building a new Windows 2012 R2 server, upgrading software and data management systems, and moving pre-existing data to new server. The project included support testing on the servers and applications.

Benefits
Due to its transition to Azure, Smartsoft reduced it’s administration by 39%.  With this solution, the hardware is maintained by Microsoft, so the client saved 24% on hardware cost maintenance.  Smartsoft realized a ROI within 6 months of the migration.

Elasticity was another benefit Smartsoft received after its transition to Azure.  Because of the migration to Azure, the client is able to install and use servers according to their need.

With the implementation of the Azure solution, quality has greatly improved.  Smartsoft is now experiencing 99.99% reliability with the Azure cloud solution.

Risk reduction was improved, as the transition to Azure led to a higher rate of server and data security.  This security improvement also increased its access to its IT infrastructure.

Products

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Server 2012
  • SQL 2008 R2
  • IIS 7.0
  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
  • Microsoft System Center 2012

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 Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com.

Containers are the next evolution in virtualization, enabling organizations to be more agile than ever before. You can write yourr app once and deploy everywhere, whether dev, test or production. Containers can run on any hardware, on any cloud, and in any environment without modification. In short, they offer a truly open and portable solution for agile DevOps.

With Azure Container Service (ACS), we provide customers a unique approach to managing containers in the cloud by offering a simple way for them to scale containers in production through proven open source container orchestration technology. Today we are announcing a series of updates to ACS that continue to demonstrate ACS is the most streamlined, open and flexible way to run your container applications in the cloud — providing even more customer choice in their cloud orchestrator. These updates, available today, include:

  • Kubernetes on Azure Container Service (preview): In July 2014, roughly a month after Kubernetes became publicly available, we announced support for Kubernetes on Azure infrastructure. Kubernetes 1.4 offered support for native Azure networking, load-balancer and Azure disk integration. Today, we are taking this support even further and announcing the preview release of Kubernetes 1.4 on Azure Container Service. This deeper and native support of Kubernetes will provide you another fully open source choice for your container orchestration engine on Azure. Now, customers will have more options to choose their cloud orchestrator with ACS providing support for three fully open source solutions in DC/OS, Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. You can read more here from Brendan Burns, one of the founders of Kubernetes, for his view on Kubernetes on ACS.
  • DC/OS Upgrade to 1.8.4: We’re pleased to share we have upgraded ACS support for DC/OS to version 1.8.4. This new version includes flexible new virtual networking capabilities along with job-scheduling and Marathon-based container orchestration baked right into the DC/OS UI. In addition, GitLab, Artifactory, Confluent Platform, DataStax Enterprise and our own Operations Management Suite are now available for one-click installation from the DC/OS Universe app store.
  • Open Source Azure Container Service Engine: Today, we are releasing the source code for the ACS Engine we use to create Azure Container Service deployments in Azure. This new open source project on GitHub will allow us to share with the community how we deploy DC/OS, Swarm and Kubernetes and collaborate on best practices for orchestrating containers on Azure, both public and on Azure Stack. Furthermore, with the ACS Engine, you can modify and customize deployments of the service beyond what is possible today. Finally, with your help, we can take contributions from the community and improve the service running in Azure.

We are seeing organizations of every size move their container-based solutions from dev/test environments to production in the cloud, especially as they discover the business agility opportunities containers make possible. In addition to delivering more choice and flexibility on ACS, we’re also enabling more streamlined agile development and container management through new updates, including these:

  • Azure Container Registry: Available in preview on Nov. 14, the Azure Container Registry is a private repository for hosting container images for use on Azure. Using the Azure Container Registry, you can store Docker-formatted images for all types of container deployments. In addition, the Azure Container Registry integrates well with the orchestrator offered by the Azure Container Service. When you use the Azure Container Registry, you will find it compatible with the open source Docker Registry v2 so you can use the same tools on ACR.
  • VS, VSTS and VS Code integration and deployment to Azure Container Service: Also on Nov. 14, we will release a new experience to enable you to easily set up continuous integration and deployment of multicontainer Linux applications using Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services and the open source Visual Studio Code. To continue enabling deployment agility, we expect to invest heavily in excellent dev-to-test-to-prod deployment experiences for container workloads using a choice of development and CI/CD solutions.

Azure is the only public cloud with a container service that offers a choice of open source orchestration technologies, DC/OS, Docker Swarm and Kubernetes, making it easier for you and your team to adopt containers in the cloud using the tools you love. You can get these agile benefits and more! Go try out DC/OS, Swarm or Kubernetes, on Azure Container Service today! If you want to see more, make sure you watch Microsoft Connect next week!

About the Client
MCAT has built business partnerships aimed at an organized statewide solution for administering industry-standard utilities for use with CAMA software. Those include Marshall and Swift, Apex Sketch, SPSS, NCSS, and ESRI-based GIS solutions. Some utilities are in-development, but all should be made available within the organization’s official CAMA solution, PUMA. In some cases, these solutions may be made available as separate components to existing CAMA systems.

Business Situation
To aide in its mission to provide the best available information at the best possible price, MCAT enlisted the help of Microsoft in developing a cloud based solution, based on Microsoft Azure technology.  Microsoft Azure is an expanding group of cloud based services that allow companies to work more efficiently while saving money.

To implement this project, Microsoft chose Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience assisting companies configure Azure and other cloud services.

Solution
Henson Group worked with MCAT to develop a virtual network strategy with respect to existing and future servers.  In addition, Henson Group trained the client on Azure PowerShell and related concepts.  The solution entailed ExpressRoute, virtual networks, static VPNs, several VMs and PaaS services, redis cache, and blob storage.

Objectives
The priorities for this project were
• Upgrading MCAT’s IT infrastructure to increase its security and stability.
• To create an environment that would respond quickly and efficiently to future business growth.
• Lower existing IT costs.
• Complete knowledge transfer and documentation.

Results and Benefits
Henson Group worked closely with MCAT to develop a plan to migrate and update its system to the newest version of Microsoft Azure.  During the transition, Henson Group worked to transfer knowledge and practical skills to the client.  This transfer ensures MCAT is able to optimize the performance of its Microsoft Azure system.

As part of the project, three servers were upgraded and the client is now using a more stable and secure IT environment.  With the transition complete, MCAT is now using a system that can grow with the company.

MCAT is now experiencing an increase in infrastructure performance thanks to the upgrades Henson Group enacted.  With Microsoft Azure, servers are only used when they are needed.

The migration to the Azure increased the security level of MCAT’s servers, applications, and infrastructure.

MCAT also increased cost savings by 20% as they only pay for the services and servers they need.
However, the client is able to increase their use of servers and applications as the business grows with speed and efficiency.  With per-minute billing and a price-match guarantee, MCAT is able to easily manage the costs associated with maintaining and operating its IT environment.

Products

• Microsoft Azure
• Windows Server 2012
• ExpressRoute
• Redis Cache
• Blob Storage
• Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
• Microsoft System Center 2012

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 Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com.

Business Situation

Himformatics helps companies meet healthcare needs that are  onstantly evolving. Himformatics takes an individualized approach to each of its clients and works closely with them to ensure their needs are being met. The organization strives to ensure its approach to developing client solutions are bold, honest, and proven.

As Himformatics continues to grow, a primary concern is the security of the information it works with. Because healthcare records and information requires a high level of confidentiality, Himformatics reached out to Microsoft, seeking a system security upgrade.

Microsoft enlisted the help of Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience helping companies deploy Azure and other cloud solutions meet their IT security needs.

 

Solution

The Henson Group worked closely with Himformatics to determine their IT system security needs. After close consultation, it was determined that security and auditing should be the primary focus of the project.

  • Setup all auditing services for Azure SQL database
  • Setup all auditing services for Azure VM
  • Setup Azure portal alerts for Azure SQL database
  • Setup Azure portal alerts for Azure VM
  • Setup auditing services for Virtual Network
  • Setup auditing services for ADF
  • Setup Azure portal alerts for ADF
  • Setup OMS account and attached data sources
  • Setup reports and alert from OMS
  • Data flow diagrams with description
  • Document with Azure implementation screenshots
  • Meetings & research

 

Objectives

Given the sensitive nature of the information Himformatics deals and the hide need to ensure its security, increasing the security of the system was one of the priorities for this project. In addition, The Henson Group included auditing and alerting as part of the solution for Himformatics.

 

Results & Benefits

The Henson Group was able to increase the security of Himformatics IT environment and increase the auditing capabilities of the system manager. This allowed them to thwart hundreds of threats and get real-time monitoring for their Azure services.

 

Benefits

With the project complete, the client is experiencing increased infrastructure performance thanks to the Azure Cloud Solution. With the Azure solution, the client is only using the servers it needs at that moment.

Thanks to the increased security measures in place, Himformatics is assured that the sensitive information it deals with has the highest level of protection possible.

In addition, the increased auditing and alerting capabilities The Henson Group provided ensure that any problems are detected quickly and can be dealt with effectively.

 

Products

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft OMS
  • Windows Server 2012

 

Products

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 Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com.