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Category Archives: Case Study

Technology is a critical component of every aspect of Training Consultants’ 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, Training Consultants 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.

With its IT infrastructure built primarily on Microsoft and related technologies, Training Consultants 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 Training Consultants.

 

Solution

From small dev-test projects to global product launches, Azure is engineered to handle any workload. More than 57 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure, which offers enterprise grade SLAs on services, 24/7 tech support, and round-the-clock service health monitoring. Customers include Skanska, Heineken, 3M, Dyson, Paul Smith, Mazda, GE Healthcare, Trek, McKesson, Milliman, Towers Watson, NBC Sports, TVB, and many more.

Following a thoughtful evaluation process of technical, security and financial aspects, guided by a top Henson Group architect in partnership with Microsoft, a Microsoft Azure cloud platform solution emerged as the ideal option. Henson Group managed the migration of Training Consultants’ complete infrastructure to Azure IaaS VMs. Henson Group also proposed to upgrade their existing OS and SQL versions to keep updated with newer capabilities.

 

Objectives

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 Training Consultants 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

The Henson Group designed, implemented, and migrated Training Consultants’ current software to Microsoft’s Azure “cloud” services environment. The migration 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 Training Consultants’ 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, Training Consultants 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. The solution allows the VMs to grow as the business grows. Meanwhile, Training Consultants now has its IT infrastructure accessible at 99.9 % without any investments into hardware. In terms of cost efficiencies, Training Consultants shed its cumbersome managed services contract in favor of Azure’s pay-as-you-go services that it can now quickly scale up or down to match the demands for its business. Per-minute billing and a commitment to match competitor prices for popular infrastructure services like compute, storage and bandwidth mean Training Consultants will consistently achieves cost-effective expense management of its infrastructure.

Server administration for Training Consultants 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.

 

Benefits

  • Improved agility
  • Increased elasticity
  • Improved quality
  • Redundancy and resiliency
  • Risk reduction
  • Greater efficiency

 

Products

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • 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.

The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) helps more than 85,000 homeless, abused and unwanted animals each year. Promoting animal welfare and providing public education on the proper care and treatment of animals, the HSMO operates from multiple locations including its Macklind Avenue Headquarters Center in St. Louis City, Chesterfield Valley Center, Westport Area Center in Maryland Heights, Longmeadow Rescue Ranch and even the Carol Gates Throop Memorial Park. These various facilities offer a diverse range of services, including adoption centers, veterinary medical centers, animal-themed gift shops, pet behavior and obedience classes, animal rescue and investigation departments, and receiving services for unwanted animals.

As a private, non-profit organization has a mandate to maximize its funding to serve its core mission, though still requires a secure IT infrastructure to support its increasingly complex operation. This environment includes a number of sensitive virtual machines on its existing on-premises infrastructure based on Microsoft Hyper-V.

To ensure security and availability of this environment, while minimizing the IT burden on its management, the HSMO sought to secure them on Azure, using the provided backup and disaster recovery services and using Microsoft Azure as a Hybrid cloud extension via a VPN connection.

As a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in cloud deployments leveraging Microsoft Azure, The Henson Group was selected by the HSMO to secure the existing on-premises IT Infrastructure to Azure through the implementation of Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup.

 

Solution

HSMO has chosen Henson Group because they wanted an experienced partner to guide them through Azure best practices and help them with a seamless implementation of disaster recovery and backup on the Azure hybrid cloud.

HSMO sought to secure 16 Virtual Machines (VMs), including a mix of Web Servers, Database Servers, Mail Servers and File Servers.

After an initial assessment and comprehensive evaluation of HSMO’s Active Directory File Server (ADFS) configuration, Henson Group implemented a disaster recovery solution using Azure Site Recovery for 15 of the given 16 VMs. That choice guarantees to HSMO to be able, in case of local infrastructure failure, to switch to the Disaster Recovery Site in seconds.

 

For the file server, the Henson Group’s lead Azure engineer determined the environment was too large to be efficiently replicated to the cloud, and therefore adopted a solution based on the Azure Backup service to allow HSMO to restore any file on a two-week’s time window.

 

Results & Benefits

Henson Group leveraged Azure Site Recovery to establish a viable business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy by orchestrating replication of HSMO’s on-premises servers and virtual machines to Microsoft’s Azure cloud environment.

This eliminates HSMO’s need to manage a secondary datacenter. Site Recovery can automate replication between datacenters, but it also provides the opportunity to forgo a secondary on-site location by replicating to Azure. Today, HSMO’s replicated data is stored in Azure Storage, with all the resilience that provides. Site Recovery handles the replication, and moving forward HSMO can engage failover and recovery with a simple click.

Azure Disk Encryption helps HSMO address organizational security and compliance requirements, by encrypting its VM disks with keys and policies that HSMO controls in its Azure Key Vault. Azure Disk Encryption enables you to encrypt your virtual machine disks, including the boot and the data disks. The solution uses Azure Key Vault to help you safeguard your disk encryption keys, manage key access policies, and audit use of your keys. All the data in the VM disks are encrypted at rest using industry standard encryption technology in your Azure storage accounts.

Azure Virtual Machines are certified for FISMA, FedRAMP, HIPAA, PCI DSS Level 1, and other key compliance programs—which now makes it easier for HSMO’s own Azure applications to meet compliance requirements and for the business to address a wide range of regulatory requirements.

Henson Group met HSMO’s core deliverables for this engagement, including:

  • Automated protection and replication of virtual machines
  • Remote health monitoring
  • Customized disaster recovery plans
  • Encryption of sensitive data
  • Security of network traffic
  • Achievement of internal compliance requirements

The project was completed within two months.

 

Products

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery

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.

  • 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. SOLUTION 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. OBJECTIVES 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. BENEFITS 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 PRODUCTS •Microsoft Azure •Windows Server 2012 •Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit •Microsoft System Center 2012 •Windows Azure Pack for System Center 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 The Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com or call +1.800.980.1130.

B&H Photo Video, founded in 1973 and located at 420 Ninth Avenue on the corner of West 34th Street in Manhattan, New York City, is the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the United States. Since its founding, B&H Photo has established itself as the place to go for the best prices and service for photographic, audio, video, computer, and home entertainment needs.

To efficiently manage its IT environment, B&H Photo Video decided to deploy Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM), a Windows product that enables administrators to manage the deployment and security of devices and applications across the enterprise. Part of the Microsoft System Center 2012 systems management suite, SCCM 2012 discovers servers, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices connected to a network through Active Directory and installs client software on each node. It then manages application deployments and updates on a device or group basis, allowing for automated patching with Windows Server Update Services and policy enforcement with Network Access Protection.

To support this deployment, B&H Photo Video approached Microsoft, which in turn enlisted The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in System Center technology and a long history serving the IT needs of retail organizations.

Solution

A Henson Group System Center architect defined the scope of the engagement by mapping out a phased approach that included gathering functional and technical requirements, the subsequently managing  the implementation.

The main deliverables for the project included:

Phase 1: Discovery & Deployment

  1. Capturing of SCCM 2012 business and technical requirements
  2. Discovery for AD, Network, Workstation (OSs, Models, Drivers), OS Provisioning, Reporting Requirements, and Processes/Procedures
  3. Review of B&H’s existing desktop environment (Image Creation/Update, Management Tools, Software Updates, Folder Redirection/Synchronization, User Profiles, Shares, Printers, Group Policies, User location, Collect Hardware refresh cycle, etc.)
  4. Creation of logical and physical architecture documentation for SCCM 2012 R2 and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) including server/Virtual Machines, disk/SAN, and High Availability/Disaster Recovery specifications
  5. Creation of SCCM Container(s) in Active Directory
  6. Extension/verification of SCCM Schema Extensions
  7. Creation of SCCM service accounts, Servers/Virtual Machiens, and a Microsoft SQL instance
  8. Configuration of SQL TCP port for SCCM
  9. Installation of required roles and features for SCCM Server

Phase 2: Verification and Training

  1. Review and resolution of any SCCM alerts and event logs
  2. Provision of a list of monitors for SCCM Servers for monitoring
  3. Verification of inventory reports are functional
  4. Deployment of Windows update through SCCM via WSUS
  5. Deployment of one MSI to test collection to validate application/patch deployment
  6. Training, administration, and troubleshooting of BitLocker and AppLocker
  7. Knowledge Transfer , including special emphasis on the following topics:

Manage Sites Manage collections

Monitor site health

Configure software updates

Manage site communications

Manage boundary groups

Manage role-based security

Manage the software library and application catalog

Manage Clients Deploy clients

Manage client agent settings

Configuring SCCM end point protection for AV

Manage Inventory

Manage hardware inventory

Manage software inventory

Results & Benefits

The Henson Group successfully achieved the objectives for B&H’s implementation of System Center Configuration Manager 2012. The Henson Group’s discovery, design and deployment was completed within eight days, without disruption of the client’s business operations.  Moving forward,  B&H is now able to leverage a robust array of management capabilities, including, but not limited to Software Deployment , Operating System Deployment , Software / Hardware Inventory and others to streamline the IT department’s day-to-day tasks.

Meanwhile, Henson Group supported the IT organization with the expert mentoring and cross-training the client’s IT staff needed. The business successfully met its deployment goals.

Products

  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2

Contacts Us Today!

To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft System Center deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner The Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com or call +1.800.980.1130.

Based in New York City, automotiveMastermind was founded in 2012 on the idea that there are patterns in people’s behavior, and that the right logic can be used to predict future outcomes. automotiveMastermind’s core dealer team consists of high-volume sales experts and executives with an intimate understanding of the complicated automotive sales process and the unique pain points dealerships and sales teams experience.

Its core technology, automotiveMastermind® is a cutting-edge behavior prediction technology that provides a clear, structured overview of each customer, what he or she is most likely to buy, and why.

automotiveMastermind’s environment is supported by Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed and Microsoft partner hosted datacenters.

automotiveMastermind approached Microsoft to ensure it would leverage the latest Azure-related innovations, approaching Microsoft. Microsoft enlisted The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in Azure and a long history serving the IT needs of the technology providers.

Today, more and more Microsoft customers seek such guidance on how to make the most of Microsoft Azure.

Solution

automotiveMastermind was interested in exploring implementing a series of optimizations based on best practices related to a shortlist of powerful technologies.

Essentially, automotiveMastermind needed Henson Group to perform a comprehensive review of its existing Infrastructure hosted in Azure and provide analysis and recommendations. The deliverables included crafting Best Practices Recommendations, relative to automotiveMastermind’s environment, for the following:

Application Migration – Azure Virtual Machines to Azure Web Applications:  The comprehensive document highlighted the key aspects required to achieve High Availability for Azure Web Apps, as well as requirement for scaling the environment.

Console Applications: Essentially, best practices for the optimal operation of background jobs being run as a console applications to be converted to Azure Web jobs, including the use of the Azure queue in this scenario.

Failover Strategy Enhancement: Recommendation document for failover strategy for Azure Web Applications and custom domain and https best practices.

Backup Best Practices:  Recommended enhancement to improve strategy for Microsoft SQL Server backups and Virtual Machine backups.

SQL VM to SQL PaaS: Best practice analysis based on a review for SQL server and SQL Azure DB differences that would help in decision making in SQL VM to SQL PaaS movement.

Additional Scope of Recommendations:

  • Best performance (IOPS, throughput) for SQL server on Azure VM.
  • High availability and DR solution for SQL server on Azure VM/SQL Azure DB (PaaS).
  • Architecture recommendations document for scaling SQL server on Azure VM/ SQL Azure DB (PaaS).
  • Best practices for basic monitoring for Azure VM’s.
  • Security implementation using Azure VNET for Web apps and SQL server on VM/ SQL Azure Db (PaaS)

Results & Benefits

Following an extensive review, The Henson Group delivered its recommendations, provided the Knowledge Transfer and documentation necessary to make the analysis actionable for automotiveMastermind to implement the best practices for the optimal performance of its Azure environment.

This documentation and Knowledge Transfer was especially critical to empower Automotive Mastermind to go at its own pace, staging the implementation in a manner that ensured it would not disrupt business operations.

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.

Based in Wallingford, CT, Amphenol is one of the largest manufacturers of interconnect products in the world. The Company designs, manufactures and markets electrical, electronic and fiber optic connectors, coaxial and flat-ribbon cable, and interconnect systems.

The primary end markets for the Company’s products are communications and information processing markets, including cable television, cellular telephone and data communication and information processing systems; aerospace and military electronics; and automotive, rail and other transportation and industrial applications.

To efficiently support its IT environment, Amphenol leverages Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM), a Windows product that enables administrators to manage the deployment and security of devices and applications across the enterprise.

Amphenol recently sought to upgrade its existing environment to SCCM 2012 R2, the latest iteration of the technology. The company enlisted Microsoft and The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in System Center technology and a long history serving the IT needs of manufacturing organizations.

 

Solution

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 Amphenol.

The client partnered with Henson Group for a seamless upgrade to SCCM 2012 R2. A Henson Group System Center architect defined the scope of the engagement by mapping out a phased approach that included gathering functional and technical requirements, and after, an extensive engineering and testing phase was implemented.

The main deliverables for the project included:

Review of Amphenol’s SCCM architecture

  • Review current desktop environment (Image Creation/Update, Management Tools, Software Updates, Folder Redirection/Synchronization, User Profiles, Shares, Printers, Group Policies, User location, Collect Hardware refresh cycle, etc.)
  • Review existing tools and processes for PC deployment

Subsequent to the review, Henson Group formulated an extensive array of recommendations for the upgrade and optimal use of SCCM 2012. Henson Group then a series of onsite meetings at the client to review these customized best practices and provide specific training and walkthroughs. These sessions focused on various topics, including, but not limited to:

  • Manage Sites
  • Manage collections
  • Monitor site health
  • Configure software updates
  • Manage site communications
  • Manage boundary groups
  • Manage role-based security
  • Managing clients
  • Deploying clients
  • Deploy and configure SCCM end point protection for AV
  • Manage client agent settings
  • Manage hardware inventory
  • Manage software inventory
  • Manage Operating System Deployment (OSD)
  • Configure the OSD environment
  • Build and capture an image
  • Deploy an image
  • Manage images
  • Deploy Applications and Software Updates
  • Create an application/update
  • Deploy an application/update
  • Monitor application/update deployment
  • Manage the software library and application catalog

 

Results & Benefits

Based on the review, analysis and knowledge transfer provided by Henson Group, Amphenol was able to successfully achieve its vision for an optimal upgrade to System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2.

During the requirements gathering and review phases of the engagement, the client’s existing policies and solution for imaging was updated to match a more comprehensive set of requirements. The policy, governance and new systems management capabilities offered an efficient and more predictable deployment and administration capability.

The improved imaging process was more reliable and more supportive of the client’s long-term vision. Henson Group partnered with Amphenol to design a migration plan which minimized disruptions to daily business. Meanwhile, Henson Group supported the IT organization with the expert mentoring and cross-training the client’s IT staff needed. The business successfully met its deployment goals.

 

Products

  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012

 

Contacts Us Today!

To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft System Center deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner The Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com or call +1.800.980.1130.

Surgent (formerly known as Surgent McCoy) is a leader in the field of continuing professional education (CPE) for CPAs and other financial professionals. Surgent (www.CPENow.com) provides thousands of CPE webinars, self-study courses, CPE packages, and live seminars annually for accounting, tax preparation, and financial professionals all across the country. For more than 30 years, Surgent has partnered with nearly all state societies of CPAs and hundreds of the nation’s top accounting firms. Surgent also offers a variety of continuing education and exam preparation courses for non-CPAs, including Enrolled Agents, tax preparers, Certified Financial Planners, and CPA candidates. With its IT infrastructure built primarily on Microsoft and related technologies, Surgent 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 Training Consultants. Surgent’s IT environment is supported by Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform and infrastructure. Azure was created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed and Microsoft partner hosted datacenters. Anticipating an upgrade its existing Azure environment, Surgent recently sought an external, expert review and analysis, including recommendations for how to adopt the latest Microsoft-endorsed best practices and Azure improvements. Moreover, Surgent IT leadership wanted an experienced, certified Azure partner to guide them through Azure best practices with specific emphasis on advanced scenarios. The company enlisted Microsoft and The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in Azure and a proven history providing expert-level assessment services to professional services organizations, such as Surgent.   Solution The Henson Group launched Surgent’s assessment by staging a series of comprehensive review sessions, fully engaged with Surgent IT leadership, to capture the existing configurations and complexities of the Azure infrastructure. Surgent’s deployed its infrastructure on Azure and is using it as hybrid cloud – a cloud computing environment leveraging a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms. Surgent’s objective was two-fold. First, Surgent sought to ensure that the Azure-based hybrid environment had been configured properly and accordingly to the Microsoft Azure’s best practices. Secondly, and equally important, Surgent wanted expert-level advice for adjustments to enhance their already highly flexible and available environment even more robust and reliable. The Henson Group provided a comprehensive scope of assessment and best practices knowledge transfer, with extensive documentation to enable Surgent to optimize its Azure environment. Among its various recommendations, Henson Group proposed that Surgent implement adjustments to the Backup and high Availability features of Azure. This also included, among other measures, implementing Azure Backup for Virtual Machines and SQL Servers and setting up the Auto Scale feature for Virtual Machines. Meanwhile, Henson Group proposed Surgent upgrade its existing SQL Server’s Virtual Machines to adopt the new Azure Premium Storage service in order to increase the performance of databases. Azure Premium Storage delivers high-performance, low-latency disk support for virtual machines running I/O-intensive workloads. Virtual Machine disks that use Premium Storage store data on solid state drives (SSDs). Henson Group recommended Surgent migrate its application’s VM disks to Azure Premium Storage to take advantage of the speed and performance of these disks. Moreover, Henson Group also assessed the Surgent Azure environment’s security profile, and subsequently proposed Surgent deploy an Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) proxy, to add Access Control Lists (ACL) for the configured endpoints and to set up a network Intrusion defense systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) system.   Results & Benefits Henson Group provided thorough knowledge transfer, reinforced by comprehensive documentation. And, to ensure the Surgent had the post-migration assessment support it needed to advise on implementing any of the recommendations provided, Henson Group assigned a resource associated with the migration and therefore knowledgeable of Surgent’s environment to provide on-demand guidance. 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.

Based in New York City, automotiveMastermind was founded in 2012 on the idea that there are patterns in people’s behavior, and that the right logic can be used to predict future outcomes. automotiveMastermind’s core dealer team consists of high-volume sales experts and executives with an intimate understanding of the complicated automotive sales process and the unique pain points dealerships and sales teams experience. Its core technology, automotiveMastermind® is a cutting-edge behavior prediction technology that provides a clear, structured overview of each customer, what he or she is most likely to buy, and why. automotiveMastermind’s environment is supported by Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed and Microsoft partner hosted datacenters. automotiveMastermind approached Microsoft to ensure it would leverage the latest Azure-related innovations, approaching Microsoft. Microsoft enlisted The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in Azure and a long history serving the IT needs of the technology providers. Today, more and more Microsoft customers seek such guidance on how to make the most of Microsoft Azure. SOLUTION automotiveMastermind was interested in exploring implementing a series of optimizations based on best practices related to a shortlist of powerful technologies. Essentially, automotiveMastermind needed Henson Group to perform a comprehensive review of its existing Infrastructure hosted in Azure and provide analysis and recommendations. The deliverables included crafting Best Practices Recommendations, relative to automotiveMastermind’s environment, for the following: Application Migration – Azure Virtual Machines to Azure Web Applications:  The comprehensive document highlighted the key aspects required to achieve High Availability for Azure Web Apps, as well as requirement for scaling the environment. Console Applications: Essentially, best practices for the optimal operation of background jobs being run as a console applications to be converted to Azure Web jobs, including the use of the Azure queue in this scenario. Failover Strategy Enhancement: Recommendation document for failover strategy for Azure Web Applications and custom domain and https best practices. Backup Best Practices:  Recommended enhancement to improve strategy for Microsoft SQL Server backups and Virtual Machine backups. SQL VM to SQL PaaS: Best practice analysis based on a review for SQL server and SQL Azure DB differences that would help in decision making in SQL VM to SQL PaaS movement. Additional Scope of Recommendations: • Best performance (IOPS, throughput) for SQL server on Azure VM. • High availability and DR solution for SQL server on Azure VM/SQL Azure DB (PaaS). • Architecture recommendations document for scaling SQL server on Azure VM/ SQL Azure DB (PaaS). • Best practices for basic monitoring for Azure VM’s. • Security implementation using Azure VNET for Web apps and SQL server on VM/ SQL Azure Db (PaaS) RESULTS & BENEFITS Following an extensive review, The Henson Group delivered its recommendations, provided the Knowledge Transfer and documentation necessary to make the analysis actionable for automotiveMastermind to implement the best practices for the optimal performance of its Azure environment. This documentation and Knowledge Transfer was especially critical to empower automotiveMastermind to go at its own pace, staging the implementation in a manner that ensured it would not disrupt business operations. 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.

Based in New York City, Backlash Solutions™ provides solutions designed to meet the needs of today’s independent music community, delivering business and technology services to more than two hundred internationally recognized independent record label brands, distributors, publishers and PR firms. This includes end-to-end business solutions marketed as affordable, secure, reliable, and always available; the type of services that until now have either been unavailable or financially out of reach for small music companies. Essentially, Backlash Solutions has positioned itself to provide the critical tool necessary to enable today’s music companies to merge the traditional business models that the music industry was built on with the new and evolving business models of the digital age. As such, Backlash Solutions must ensure its technology environment is state-or-the-art, enabling it to deliver the level of service flexibility and high availability that are the inherent hallmarks of its business model. With its IT infrastructure built primarily on Microsoft and related technologies, Backlash Solutions approached Microsoft to migrate its environment to a cloud-based platform, based on Microsoft Azure technology. Microsoft enlisted the assistance of The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with a proven track record achieving the technology objectives or professional services and IT type businesses, such as Backlash Solutions. Solution Microsoft Azure is an open, flexible, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform. From small dev-test projects to global product launches, Azure is engineered to handle any workload. More than 57 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure, which offers enterprise grade SLAs on services, 24/7 tech support, and round-the-clock service health monitoring. Specifically, Backlash Solutions sought to migrate a disparate environment comprised of two separate data centers, one located in the United States, while the other was located in the United Kingdom. Adding to the complexity of the migration was the fact that the existing environment was supported by two separate hosting providers, namely Rackspace and Hostnet. Henson Group initiated the engagement by assigning a seasoned Azure architect to lead a team of Azure migration specialists. To facilitate a methodical migration, the project commenced with a thoughtful Azure Assessment and Planning phase, where the Henson Group team reviewed the existing environment, ultimately proposing Azure settings and providing an extensive array of recommendations based on established best practices. The exhaustive review evaluated elements such as connectivity, performance, disks, availability, monitoring, Virtual Machines, and more. Henson Group recommended against a simultaneous migration of both environments, instead advocating for a staged migration, initiating the Rackspace-to-Azure migration in United States first, before turning their attention to the migration overseas. That first migration included Virtual Network configuration and design, storage configuration, cloud service creations, upload of Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs) to Azure storage, provisioning of five Virtual Machines, a load balancer configuration and availability sets configuration for Azure Virtual Machines, and more associated tasks. With the United States migration nearing completion and critical deliverables for that phase concluded, Henson Group launched the next stage, the United Kingdom migration from Hostnet to Azure. Though many of the deliverables in this stage were obviously similar in nature to the initial migration, and Henson Group’s gained familiarity of Backlash Solution’s technology environment helped expedite the subsequent migration, there were some marked differences. Major deliverables of this migration featured Virtual Network configuration and design, storage configuration and Cloud service creations, as well as other similar tasks from the first migration, but now also included Storage-to-Storage account migration of Azure Virtual Machines for provisioning, a total of eight for Hostway. Henson Group also had to provision eight Windows Virtual Machines. Results & Benefits As a leading technology provider to music industry companies, Backlash Solution has a strong, well-organized internal IT organization with proven leadership that was engaged and informed. This provided an exceptional level of partnership and communication that ultimately aided Henson Group well, as it achieved all of the client’s objectives for this complex migration. To ensure Backlash Solutions had the post-migration support it needed in place moving forward, Henson Group assigned a resource associated with the migration and therefore knowledgeable of Backlash Solutions’ environment to provide as-needed support and remediation services. 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.

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.