Sysmex America Achieves 99.999% Availability for Exchange Server with F5
High availability was the key driver behind the project
By: Heidi Schreifels
Apr. 21, 2011 10:55 AM
Sysmex America develops clinical testing devices for the healthcare industry. To ensure business continuity and seamless communication among customers, partners, and employees, Sysmex must keep email systems highly available. The company employed the Application Ready Solution for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 from F5 Networks and as a result, has surpassed 99.999 percent email uptime.
To ensure that the implementation followed best practices, Sysmex’s IT department used F5 deployment guidance, jointly developed with Microsoft, and has enjoyed superior support from F5 engineers. The solution provides Sysmex with cost-effective, centralized management and a flexible platform that it will expand to support other key systems.
Sysmex relied on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 for email until the IT department determined that it could benefit from an upgrade. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 held great promise for improving employee access to unified email, calendars, and voice mail—from virtually any platform, browser, or device. Additionally, the newer version takes a unified approach to high availability and disaster recovery, helping IT departments achieve higher reliability.
High availability was the key driver behind the project, but Sysmex also wanted to ensure that its Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 deployment would be easy to manage, monitor, and protect, so IT staff could spend less time troubleshooting and more time on strategic efforts.
Networks. “F5 beat the competition because it delivers more functionality for a comparable price. We saw it as a strategic investment that would support our growth.” BIG-IP LTM is an intelligent, flexible solution that helps companies improve application performance, ensure availability, enhance security, and simplify management.
To ensure a smooth rollout, Sysmex took advantage of F5’s Application Ready Solution for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. The solution provides step-by-step guidance on deploying F5 devices with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, including detailed configuration tips for optimized performance. With
Exchange Server 2010, user access to email is managed by the Client Access servers, so the IT department can intelligently manage all of the company’s Exchange Server traffic on its BIG-IP devices.
Sysmex is using the Database Availability Group feature of Exchange Server 2010, which uses continuous replication to keep database copies up to date and to automate recovery from failures at the disk, server, or data center level. Sysmex takes advantage of the F5 solution to offload CPU intensive Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) traffic from its Exchange Client Access servers to BIG-IP LTM. This frees up server resources, resulting in increased responsiveness and higher availability for users.
Zero Downtime for Email
Since deploying Exchange Server 2010 with BIG-IP LTM, Sysmex has experienced no unplanned email downtime. “We have achieved five nines [99.999 percent] of availability,” says Braune. “The F5 solution helps us make the Exchange Server Client Access servers highly available. Users aren’t frustrated with outages, and we can keep business on track with our customers.”
The F5 solution also helps the IT department perform server maintenance without disrupting users. “The last time we did maintenance on the Exchange Server, no one even knew we had taken a server down,” adds Braune.
The F5 deployment guide for Exchange Server 2010 was developed by F5 engineers working closely with Microsoft, and it delivers the best possible guidance to support a highly available and scalable deployment. “Thanks to F5, we have complete confidence that we are following Microsoft best practices in implementing a critical business system.
To an IT department, that in itself is an immeasurable benefit,” explains Braune. Cost-Effective Platform for GrowthThe F5 solution for Exchange Server 2010 is feature-rich and highly expandable. It provides IT departments with flexible options for systems management, tools for simplified troubleshooting, and step-by-step configuration guidance. “Everything we need is on one BIG-IP device,” says Braune.
“We considered a competitor’s solution, but to get all that we have with F5, we would have had to invest in twice as many appliances, incurring unnecessary cost and adding complexity. The F5 solution provides a strategic point of control and better visibility into our systems. This simplifies security and troubleshooting. We would not have been able to create such a reliable Exchange Server environment without F5.”
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