Hello, all. I wanted to share with you my latest project. I have been working on setting up a branch office for a non-profit organization here in St. Louis County that provides job training, placement, and career development services. This new office will provide a big expansion to the services they can offer!
I've set up a nicely appointed HP ProLiant ML350 Gen 9 server for them with VMware ESXi 6.5 virtualization. This gives the branch a lot of server power in an affordable package.
VMware lets me run multiple server installations (like Windows, Linux, or specialized virtual appliances) on a single physical system. I can also take point-in-time snapshots of running systems for backup purposes, or to provide a restore point before applying a major upgrade or patch. In my opinion, no server should be deployed without some sort of virtualization layer unless there is a clear reason not to. Virtualization is simply too powerful and useful to leave out.
Within VMware, I have a Windows Server 2016 Standard install. This is providing many of the basic services for the network like Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, and file sharing.
The site also needed easily managed and easy to use wireless access. I installed two Cisco Meraki wireless access points to provide full coverage of the floor plan. Clients are able to use the Internet wirelessly from their own device so that they can access the resources they need.
A number of Dell Windows 10 Pro desktops will be installed here. Currently, I have 2 set up for the friendly, smiling receptionists; 1 for their terrific Director; and 4 which are available to the public for job search, resume writing, etc. We're targeting about 35 machines total when the build out is complete. This will include additional systems for the job search area, as well as STEM training lab.
This was all installed on an accelerated time frame, and included some challenges due to the schedule. One of these was providing adequate Internet access. Although fiber is slated to be installed in the building, it would not be available in time for the initial opening. A DSL line was ordered and installed as a temporary stop-gap, but that connection proved to be too slow to be workable. The DSL line was quickly replaced with cable Internet. This provided plenty of bandwidth, but the service does not include a gateway usable for a business. I was able to get them up and running by installing ClearOS Linux as a virtual machine on their server and configuring it to provide NAT and firewall services for the network. Behold the power and flexibility of virtualization and open source!
While the install isn't complete yet, the primary hurdles have been cleared. Additional desktops will be installed. Internet access will change to fiber. A VoIP phone system will be deployed. But this has already been a terrific install and I'm looking forward to working with this organization even more in the future!
I can install a flexible, powerful system like this for your business as well. Just call, text, or e-mail and we can discuss your needs. I'll put together a detailed proposal on how to move forward.