Small Manufacturing Business / Server / Network Infrastructure Design


Couple of months ago, I was brought in to work on a project for a manufacturing company, that was looking into refreshing their server and network infrastructure including backup & DR.  Upon assessing their environment, I realized that the company is running on legacy based Windows 2000 domain and forest.  Now if you are IT professional yourself, you can imagine that upgrading a non-supported legacy domain can be a tedious and time consuming process and not to forget a Project Management nightmare.  The term Project Milestones can be easily overlooked if the project isn’t assessed and scoped out properly.  The clients current environment consisted of mainly physical infrastructure.  I decided to virtualize the environment with the hybrid approach of building and configuring new Domain Controllers, File Servers, SQL Server, and P2V in-house proprietary legacy applications.

Since I’m a virtualization focused Infrastructure Engineer, my object was to minimize the hardware and maintenance cost for the client by suggesting top of the line VMware virtualization architecture.  I will be using VMware Essentials licensing model since the environment is quite simple and does not require advance features such as vMotion, HA, DRS, and Hot-Add.

This architecture included the following solutions in the final configuration and will be running VMware vSphere (See the Visio Below):

  • (1) Dell PowerEdge R720 rack server including: 2 x E5-2630 (Six-core processors), dual power supplies, 8 x 8GB RAM (total 64GB), 4 x 1GB NIC, 2 x 400GB SSD (MCL) HDD, 6 x 300GB 15K RPM SAS HDD, DVD, PERC H710P Integrated RAID Controller, iDRAC7 Enterprise, running ESXi 5.5 U2
  • (1) Dell PowerEdge R220 rack server including: Intel Xeon E3-1200 V3 Product Family, single power supplies, 4GB RAM (total 64GB), 2 x 1GB NIC, 2 x 500GB HDD, DVD, PERC H310 Integrated RAID Controller, iDRAC7 Enterprise, running Windows 2012 Standard
  • (2) 3Com 3CR17571-91 4500 PWR Gigabit Switch
  • (1) NetGear ProSafe Plus JGS524Ev2 – Switch – Unmanaged – 24 X 10/100/100
  • (1) Quantum LTO-4 Half Height Model C Drive
  • (1) Tripp-Lite Smart-Pro Rackmount AVR 120V USB DB9 SNMP 2URM  UPS
  • (1) APC SMC1500-2U Smart-UPS C 1440VA Rackmount 2U with LCD


In this design, I used Dell PowerEdge 720 rack server as the main host server for the environment.  I don’t ever like putting all my eggs in one basket, but it is a smaller environment and a single powerful host can accommodate the need of the business with proper backup and DR solution in place.  I built out the Dell host server with the ESXi 5.5 U2 hypervisor.  Once the hypervisor configuration was finished, I allocated 3 new VM’s for DC, FS, SQL, and CAD server.  The company in-house propriety application is running on a physical server which I decided to not upgrade since it requires their application vendor participation.

The client also invested in a separate server for their onsite tape backup.  I built out the backup server with Backup Exec 2012 and configured it to backup file and CAD server data and not the VM’s.  In order to accommodate the backup of virtual data from physical server into Quantum tape drive, I allocate another vSwitch in my vCenter instance which will pass through the traffic properly between the VM’s and physical server without any latency (See the Visio below).



 This architecture was built out to refresh the software and hardware infrastructure of the manufacturing company.  It eliminated the baggage hardware, excess equipment, and minimized it to one host server solution with the guests VM’s providing the needs of the business.  All the servers are being managed by a single instance of vSphere client.  The backup solution is providing full and differential backups of their key data which can be accessed not only though the tape drives in case of a disaster, but also through extra storage carved out in the backup server itself for an instant restore.

As much as I would love to explain the software upgrade process from legacy Windows 2000 forest to the latest 2012 R2 forest, I’m keeping this post to a high level description of the infrastructure.  If there are any questions, please feel free to leave the comments.

I will be attending to my site with the latest and greatest project I’m currently in the middle of wrapping up.

To be continued ……                                                                                                                             


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