How Our Cloud Computing Works From A Technical Perspective

Cloud Computing and how this works in reality. Now this is going to bore the pants off some of you! – however for some people it is very important as these are “your” dedicated servers hosted in our Data Centre so here it is in a nutshell! How does the whole thing work, how safe is my data, how are backups taken, where is the resilience, how many dedicated servers are hosted in racks etc? Cloud Computing made easy. Your Office Anywhere comprises two data centre’s located in Manchester within the main internet (T1) hub of Manchester. The design and implementation of the system was performed using Microsoft best practices and support from Microsoft relating to the provisioning system which allows end users (you – if you wish to) to change mailbox settings add and delete users etc. The whole solution is hosted on the latest multi core Dell rack mounted servers.

Data Centre 1 for our Cloud Computing Solution

Contains a pilot set of servers which we used to test the feasibility of the solution and now contains a server with lots of disk for backups. Data Centre 1 backs up the backup servers’ disk in Data Centre 2 so the data backups are available in case of a site failure at Data Centre 2. This provides total resilience in case of a disaster.

Data Centre 2 for our Cloud Computing Solution

Contains the solution that is deployed to all users either as a dedicated solution for the customer or a solution that is “shared”(see below) with other customers and branded as Your Office Anywhere;

  • A Windows Hyper-V cluster(s) made up of Dell Dual Multi Core servers with 96GB of memory each – the cluster allows customer servers to fail to another server should the underlying hardware fail that the customer server is running on – this means the customers have minimal down time.
  • A backup server with lots of disk to backup the Your Office Anywhere solution locally at the data centre.
  • Multiple Domain Controllers to allow access to remote desktops, mailboxes, documents etc.;
  • Multiple DNS servers to resolve on the internet;
  • Active Passive Exchange Cluster for email resilience and capacity for more than 5,000 mailboxes;
  • Multiple SQL Server Versions;
  • Multiple front end exchange servers to allow fast access via internet browsers to Outlook Web Access;
  • Sharepoint server(s) allows web based document management facility;
  • Multiple terminal server gateways to allow access to remote desktops for hosting business applications
  • Microsoft Operations Manager to pro-actively monitor the status of all servers in the data centre and notify of any systems that are hitting critical and warning levels and also apply up-to-date security patches and virus definitions;
  • Bespoke customer owned servers;

Shared in this case means that the server resources are shared by multiple customers for hosting business applications however this is utilising virtual server technology so each customer gets their own “server” all be it shared on the same physical hardware with other customers, there is no sharing of data. Customers are allocated a specific area of disk, and security is set so that only the customer can see their data and applications. If we hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t know you were running a virtual server on the same physical server with someone else – this is completely seamless.


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