Adams Service Bureau Colocation Assessment. Overview

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1 Adams Service Bureau Colocation Assessment Overview Adams Service Bureau has about 50 employees and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio with offices in Akron, Columbus, and Dayton. Adams has an Internet T1 circuit through Global Crossings at each office and uses VPN technology to connect each of the remote offices to headquarters in a hub and spoke configuration. There are no other WAN circuits. The Cleveland office is located in the One Cleveland Building, a large building in downtown Cleveland. There are four physical servers in the Cleveland office a file and print server (also a Microsoft Domain Controller), an Exchange ( ) server, an accounting server, and a server used for document management. There is one server in the Akron office that is used for replicating some data from the Cleveland file and print server. The servers in Cleveland are backed up using a tape backup system and the tapes are securely stored offsite. This document will look at the current business objectives and technology issues regarding the Adams Service Bureau s servers and data, the options available to relocate the servers, how the relocation options will address the business objectives, feasibility of relocating, and a recommendation as to which option to pursue. Business Objectives Two of the four servers in Cleveland are over four years old and need to be replaced. Adams would like to virtualize the servers. Only a portion of the data stored on the file and print server in Cleveland is replicated to a replication server in Akron. A recently updated disaster recovery plan has directed that all data be replicated to a remote site. The tape backup system is overwhelmed and needs to be replaced with something that can more adequately backup all the critical data on the Adams servers. Safe, secure, and available data backups are a priority. Remote access and 24 hour availability are becoming more critical for the Adams personnel to get their jobs done. This has not been an issue in the past but management believes that Page 1

2 making sure that all needed IT resources are available from anywhere at any time will be increasingly imperative as time goes by. Technology Issues There is too much data traffic between the offices for the T1s to handle. The replication process, in particular, slows down the connectivity between the offices. This is beginning to affect production. The contract for the T1 circuits will expire in less than one year. The Cleveland servers are currently located in an unused room in the back of the Adams office space a 10 x13 room. The room is cooled with the standard air conditioning provided by the building and has only UPS backup. There is no generator backup or is there any possibility of installing one. Also, the fire suppression in the room is the general building sprinkler system not good for computer equipment. There are two carriers with fiber connectivity to the One Cleveland Building AT&T and Time Warner. The other three offices are in small buildings and no carriers have fiber connectivity to any of them at this time. The document management functionality will likely have to remain in the Cleveland office. This application involves scanning a significant of hard documents into a high speed scanner. The support company for the application is hesitant to support scanning across a WAN link. Options Adams has two options. They can either leave the servers in the Cleveland office or move them to a shared colocation facility. Option 1 Leave the servers in the Cleveland office Plusses Cost no move or monthly colocation facility cost. The Cleveland T1 circuit can be upgraded to fiber fairly inexpensively. Since there are two carriers with fiber already pulled into the building the installation costs of a fiber circuit will be fairly low and should not be cost prohibitive. Page 2

3 The document management functionality will continue operating exactly as it is now. Minuses The replication server will have to be moved. There is no fiber available at the Akron office so the replication server will have to be moved to a colocation facility where more bandwidth is available. Even then, replication will be from the One Cleveland Building to the colocation facility where the replication will be located. This could lead to increased bandwidth costs that may be significant. The solution to the backup problem will either be to purchase a much larger tape backup system or to use a remote backup solution. Choosing a larger tape system will be quite costly and could eventually run out of capacity like the last one did. Choosing a remote backup solution is infinitely scalable but can cost more as time goes on with increased bandwidth and data storage costs. Since a backup generator cannot be installed in the Cleveland office, there is a chance that the servers will not be available at all times. Should an extended power outage occur, the UPS backups will only keep the servers up for a short time probably less than an hour. Option 2 Move the servers to a shared colocation facility Plusses Once the production servers are located in a shared colocation facility, the Akron replication server can be moved to a replication site either supported or owned by the colocation facility. Virtually all colocation facilities have a replication site that has high speed connectivity between the two sites. This setup is designed for replication and will have all the needed features at a set price. The T1 data circuit at the Cleveland office can be upgraded to fiber. This will likely be needed as the document management server will remain in the Cleveland office and a high speed connection will be needed to replicate the data to the colocation facility replication site. The backup problem will be solved by either using the replication site for remote backups or utilizing a backup service offered by the colocation facility. Most colocation facilities offer data and/or server backup services. Page 3

4 Minuses Costs the Cleveland and Akron replication servers will have to be moved to a colocation facility that will charge a monthly rate to store the Adams servers. The servers will be at a remote location. Should a technician need physical access to the servers they would have to travel to the colocation facility. The document management server and application will remain in the Cleveland office. Replication will be done across a high- speed WAN link to the colocation facility. Recommendation The recommendation is to move the production servers from the Cleveland office to a shared colocation facility. The Akron replication server should then be moved to the colocation facility s associated replication site. The T1 circuit at the Cleveland site should be cancelled and a new fiber circuit installed. This solution will address all of the business objectives identified in this assessment and will provide a roadmap to the future. In addition, almost any unforeseen issues can better be addressed if the servers are at a colocation facility. Additional bandwidth, storage needs, and services are readily available. An example of something that was not considered is that many colocation facilities offer virtual servers for a monthly fee. The outdated servers could be replaced by the colocation facilities virtual servers, thus eliminating significant hardware costs. Should they choose to use the colocation facility s virtual servers, Adams will never have to upgrade hardware on them again. This option, as well as many others, is only available if the servers are moved to a shared colocation facility. Attached is a checklist of the key questions that should be asked of the colocation facilities and the carriers that are being considered. Page 4

5 Key Questions for Colocation Facility Do you have a replication site? What are the options for connectivity between the colocation facility and the Adams offices? Will you provide a design document for connectivity? What data/server backup services do you offer? Do you provide assistance in getting everything connected and operational? Do you provide virtual servers if needed? Do you provide shared storage if needed? Where is the colocation facility located? Is it convenient? Page 5

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