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Failover Clustering

A local engineering company


A leading distributor and manufacturer of engine filtration technology and components for the commercial vehicle, rail, automotive and industrial sectors worldwide had the requirements to upgrade their old IT infrastructure to a more resilient and modern system.

The older infrastructure was based on old server hardware and was running Windows Small Business Server 2003, utilising Exchange 2003 and SQL 2005 for the back end operations. Alongside this main server was a member server running Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and SQL 2005 and another member server running Windows Server 2003 and SQL 2003. There were 50 odd clients running a mixture of Windows XP and Windows 7. On those member servers were the customers main Line of Business Applications including a major manufacturing, warehouse management and accounting system, and a time and attendance system.

The customer had identified that this structure and technology would not facilitate a growth in expansion that they foresaw coming soon to their set of companies.
In 2011 we were asked to come in (as the incumbent IT support) and provide a solution with the following key benefits:

  • Newer hardware and software utilising the latest technology (of the time)
  • Replacement of all old equipment with the new infrastructure,
  • No more than 15 minutes downtime was to be allowed for the new servers
  • Upgrades of the Client PCs
  • Upgrades of the Network Infrastructure
  • Installation of new Leased Lines and Point to Point connections for connecting their other sites to the main site
  • Minimise downtime during the installation through proactive planning and co-ordination with the customer


At the time (2011) the latest systems available were Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange 2010, SQL 2008 R2, Windows 7 and Office 2010. Thus we based our solution on those technologies.
We proposed to the customer a Microsoft High Availability Fail over Cluster, utilising Microsoft Hyper V through Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacentre for the server software side of the project. We proposed HP SAN, HP Server hardware and HP networking infrastructure for the hardware side of the project.

Combining these two sides of the project allowed us to implement a 2 node SAN (building in Network RAID and SAN RAID for redundancy) to the site coupled with 2 nodes of Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacentre on physical HP DL380 servers.
This system in place allowed us to deploy multiple Virtual Machines for the customer, segregating their application needs over different VMs. The High Availability Cluster allowed us to fail over VMs between the nodes in less than 15 mins per server.
By segregating the services in this way we minimised the impact of the migration from the old server to the new infrastructure during the project through planning and co-ordination with the customer directly.
We also updated all the client machines to Windows 7 PCs with Office 2010 – with our own branded hardware, giving the users the latest OS and Office features.

The networking infrastructure was overhauled to make sure that all switches were fibre joined, and all clients had full gigbit connection. The point to points and leased line were installed as well making the whole structure up to date.

Impact and Advantage

The new systems and infrastructure have allowed the customer to grow from around 50 users at the time of the migration to over 155 now in 2015 (and continued growth planned).

The customer has been able to open warehouses in parts of Europe and these have been easily joined into the structure.

Over the course of the customer’s time with us, we have been able to upgrade their systems further to include another SAN node for more space (with no downtime), Office 2013 rollout to the clients, and has allowed us to easily add servers for the customer’s requirements when new Line of Business packages are required.

We are now in talks with the customer regarding cloud solutions for their services and further upgrades to their infrastructure including Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10 clients and Office 2016).

For more information about our services, please call us today on 01604 790979