288 Group is a holding company for a multitude of other companies with sales close to £25 million. These companies are supported through a shared back office infrastructure located at their headquarters in Dorset. The core of which is a Microsoft Exchange platform housing mailboxes and a complex public folder solution.
288 Group’s IT team had highlighted that there was a need to expand and future proof the existing email system. The team had highlighted that the existing infrastructure needed to be protected, the business reliance on it is key and any outage would be costly. Added to this users also used PST’s in which to save archive email. These were very difficult to manage due to the numbers of PST’s, size and locations saved.
QuoStar evaluated the business needs and saw many quick wins such as a purely hosted email solution. This didn’t really fit the client’s needs or the tight integration they have with their current email system and applications.
QuoStar responded with a virtualisation platform housing an Exchange infrastructure extended to a Hybrid Cloud solution.
This solution incorporated the use of database availability groups in order to provide an on premise Exchange solution. Utilising the database availability group meant that it spanned to a private cloud achieving offsite protection also. Onsite a virtualization hypervisor was introduced that matched that of the private cloud in order to put in place a scalable and modular infrastructure which allowed easy, manageable growth for the business.
To deal with the email archiving solution Exchange 2013’s native email archive offering was configured using a dedicated database. This database was left out of the database availability group so that it did not replicate to the offsite private cloud server.
Onsite backups and retention where taken care of using Veeam Backup and Replication and the cloud servers taken care of at a storage level.
We were looking for a HA solution for our Exchange environment to replace our creaking Exchange 2003, single server setup.
QuoStar suggested that a hybrid solution would give us the performance, hands on control and reliability of an on-site installation, while they could provide the expertise to setup the replication to the cloud server infrastructure and configure the cluster to provide high availability.
We chose to limit replication to more recent items to keep the system leaner. This was a compromise we could live with.
The migration process from Exchange 2003 to 2010 was well planned out as always with QuoStar and apart from some technical challenges with very large Exchange public folders, was a pain free process.