Summary

A global organisation who is at the forefront of the engineering and construction industry, requested Unitedgrids to help out on their Network design and integration activity for MS Lync 2010 to Lync 2013 upgrade project.

Project Overview

Prior to migrating to Lync 2013, our customer had a working environment of MS Lync 2010. The migration from Lync 2010 to 2013 was due to be carried out by making changes to the active directory domain membership for the individual users. Our customer required Unitedgrids expertise to enable the interconnection between the multiple MS Lync 2013 Servers across our customer’s global Data Centres. These servers were in multiple DMZs and secured locations within the network. Connectivity between these servers and other internal systems such as DNS, Outlook and Lync Client required firewall configuration changes.

In addition, due to the high number of users within our customer’s organisation which required Lync 2013 access, the Lync 2013 deployment required multiple instances of MS Lync 2013 Front End, Edge and Web App Servers which critically needed to be Load Balanced using F5 Load Balancers which our customers used within their network.

Challenges

The deployment of Lync 2013 for our global customer was challenging on multiple levels:

  • Scale: the solution to scale for over 80,000 users spread across global office locations which required multiple of Lync 2013 servers distributed throughout customers global Data Centre
  • Design: Inconsistency of network design between Data Centre required bespoke configurations of firewalls and Load Balancers at each of these Data centre locations.
  • Limited technical expertise: The technical team working on the solution couldn’t confirm exact application flows for Lync 2013 across our customer’s network
  • Documentation: or lack of it on our customer’s existing network presented with a challenge to the project team
  • Global team: spanned across multiple countries and continent meant resources needed to be available to work outside of ‘normal’ working hours in the UK

Solutions

Unitedgrids network consultants worked closely with our customer’s project team for Lync 2013 deployment to design and configure Palo Alto Firewalls and F5 Load balancers.

Benefit

Improved Servers availability

Due to the scale of the deployment multiple of Lync Front End, Edge and Web Servers were deployed in each of our customers Global Data Centres. To provide scale and availability of Lync servers, F5 Load Balancers were configured to spread Lync Client connections to server farms of Lync Servers. Unitedgrids consultants enabled F5 iRules to enable VIP with ‘sticky’ configuration and Front End encryption of the Lync Client connections to multiple Lync 2013 Front End servers. This enabled Server availability.

Enabled Secure Access from Internet

To enable secure access to Lync 2013 Front End Servers, Unitedgrids consultants designed and configured Palo Alto firewalls for Public and Private DMZ. Our consultants then configured App Rules on the Palo Alto Firewalls to enable controlled access to the Edge Servers from Lync Clients over the Internet. Palo Alto Firewalls App rules were configured to enable to Secured communication between Lync Edge Front End and Web App servers.

Outcome/Result

Unitedgrids met our client's requirements to create the new Lync 2013 environment and upgraded all the individual users whilst delivering a highly secure and resilient system.

Unitedgrids have been instrumental for the deployment of other critical projects for our client such as Outlook 2013, VMWare VDI deployment, New Wireless LAN solution and WAN optimisation using Riverbed Steelheads.