virtualisation

SoftArc Engineering is a civil engineering firm company which works across Australia as well as in Indonesia, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea. SoftArc Engineering currently has a small self-managed data centre that has the following servers:

  • 2 x Active Directory domain controllers on Windows Server 2012 R2, (2 x Xeon 3.6GHZ, 8GB RAM, 140GB HDD). These servers are used for authentication and authorisation;
  • 3 x SQL Server 11.0 (2012) database servers on Windows Server 2012 (2 x Xeon 2.8GHZ, 4GB RAM, 500GB RAID-5 array). These servers are used for database operations for Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint and their Client Design application;
  • 1 x Exchange 2013 email server on Windows Server 2012 R2 (2 x Xeon 3.6GHZ, 8GB RAM, 250GB RAID-1 array);
  • 4 x Windows Server 2016 File and Print servers (2 x Xeon 2.8GHZ, 4GB RAM, 250GB RAID-1 array);
  • 1 x SharePoint 2013 server on Windows Server 2012 R2 (2 x Xeon 3.6GHZ, 16GB RAM, 250GB RAID-1 array);
  • 1 x Client Design and CRM application server on Windows Server 2016 (2 x Xeon 3.6GHZ, 8GB RAM, 250GB RAID-1 array);
  • 2 x Red Hat Enterprise Linux v7.1 (2015) servers running Apache TomCat v. 7.0 (2 x Xeon 2.8GHZ, 16GB RAM, 140GB HDD).
  • 1 x Cisco 5505 ASA Firewall v9.3 (2014)

The board of SoftArc Engineering knows that their core competency is civil engineering and design, along with their understanding of their customers and their requirements. They have been advised to retire most of their old physical servers and start moving their operations onto a virtual platform. You have been employed to advise the board on various aspects of virtualisation.

Answer the following questions:

  1. You have to explain to the board the role that Virtualisation plays in the current data centre environment. You must research and explain:
    1. How will virtualisation assist SoftArc Engineering to improve operations in their Data Centre? Provide supporting references for your report. (20 marks)
    2. What are the minimum infrastructure requirements that SoftArc Engineering will need to consider before starting to implement a virtualisation solution in their Data Centre? Provide supporting references for your report. (20 marks)
    3. Provide one example of an organisation using these technologies and show its relevance to SoftArc. (10 marks)
  2. You will need to explain to the Board how you can achieve better efficiency and use of resources by using virtualisation. You will need to explain:
    1. What is the difference in efficiency between a hardware server and a virtual server. Provide supporting references for your answer. (10 marks)
    2. What should be considered when deciding to virtualise a server? Why do you consider these points important? Provide supporting references for your answer. (10 marks)
  3. A virtual appliance is a key concept in the virtualisation world. There are currently many hundreds (probably thousands) of virtual appliances available for use.
    1. Explain the differences between a virtual server and a virtual appliance to the Board. Provide supporting references for your answer. (10 marks)
    2. SoftArc Engineering has been offered the chance to upgrade their current hardware based Cisco ASA 5505 firewall to a Cisco ASA 5500-X Virtual Appliance firewall. Would you recommend this approach to SoftArc Engineering? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this approach. Provide supporting references for your answer. (20 marks)