Keeping the Lights on for the Microsoft Productivity Suite

ThinkstockPhotos-79301258Many modern enterprises are looking for strategies to deliver always on business operations. It is critical to get the business back on track as fast as possible in case of any failures in the stack.

From application perspective, most businesses leverage a combination of Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL to be productive, whether it is exchanging email, leveraging sites for collaboration, or using SQL to support transactional or analytical workflows.  To that end, these sets of Microsoft applications have become mission critical. While availability mechanisms are available within these applications (e.g. failover clustering and Data Availability Groups or DAGs), these tools alone are often not enough.

With the introduction of EMC VPLEX MetroPoint, EMC delivers the ability sustain multiple failure scenarios and ensure 24×7 operations. To be clear, these technologies complement application-based methods to deliver availability up and down the stack. Apart from protection against different failure scenarios, the MetroPoint solution extends workload mobility into the storage layer. This is handy for performance management, patching, and tech refresh.

Of course we also need to make sure that the data itself is protected. In this case, VNX data at rest encryption (D@RE) ensures that the data is secured even in the event that physical drives are moved off premise. This matters because data associated with the Microsoft Productivity Suite tends to contain sensitive data such as emails, personal information, confidential documents, and records.

VNX hybrid-flash systems can be easily optimized to accommodate workloads with low IO density (IOPS/GB) such as Exchange / SharePoint / Lync and workloads with potentially high IO density such as SQL depending on the application running on it. Simply size and make sure you have the right amount of Flash. VNX Flash Calculator can give you an idea. The good news is that performance will not suffer when leveraging D@RE so you get the best mix of performance, cost, and protection.

To see how we go about creating proven solutions across EMC and Microsoft technology, I visited our Center of Excellence in Cork Ireland. I had the pleasure of talking to James Baldwin, head of our EMC Microsoft Engineering team, and get a better understanding of the approach to test, prove, and harden these solutions.

See for yourself:

Want to dig in to the solution for Microsoft Productivity apps a little more, view my full blog on the VNX Community.

About the Author: Stefan Voss