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Police zone MIRA manages servers more efficiently with System Center 2012

After having updated their entire infrastructure, Police zone MIRA was looking for an IT Management Tool with a uniform interface to manage their Windows servers and related applications. Ferranti Computer Systems implemented the System Center 2012 management platform.

Police MIRA is a multiple municipality zone and was created through a merger of 9 former municipal police and gendarmerie, spread over 5 municipalities. Police zone MIRA is located in the extreme south of the province of West Flanders, bordering the provinces of East Flanders and Hainaut and near the French border.

Police zone MIRA just finished a successfull installation of a completely new infrastructure, which included the use of new hardware and the creation of a new Hyper-V cluster.

However Police zone MIRA was in need of more knowledge and understanding of their environment. Many actions were rather unstructured in the absence of the right tools and processs. Therefore they went in search of the appropriate management tools to manage the Hyper-V cluster, monitoring and the anti-virus policy. The monitoring management tool had to meet certain requirements. They asked for example for a uniform interface to manage the Windows servers and applications, where all status information on the components and applications would come together. In addition it was important for the tool to provide real-time performance reporting in the context of troubleshooting. Also long term reporting in function of capacity and availability analysis should be possible.

System Center 2012

Ferranti Computer Systems positioned System Center 2012 to provide Police zone MIRA with a comprehensive management platform that will enable them to easily and efficiently manage their IT environment. In addition to the implementation, Ferranti supplied consultancy which provided additional practices and knowledge and which enabled the customer to define the necessary processes. Such processes used to be non-existent and can now be carried out thanks to the use of the System Center tooling.

Virtual Machine Manager, Configuration Manager and Operations Manager were installed and integrated with each other and thus form a complete management platform, which enables Police zone MIRA to get everything out of their cluster and to control and manage their environment.

System Center Configuration Manager was configured for the purpose of endpoint protection and provides the ability to centrally manage updates and malware protection. This part of the solution focuses primarily on a maximum security of the desktop environment and the Citrix servers. The staff (police and administration) of Police zone MIRA are using the Citrix farm to have acces to internet, e-mail and a number of administrative applications. Through the use of System Center Configuration Manager, viruses are being blocked and updates can be installed more efficiently. It is no longer necessary to install updates on the servers one by one.

Police zone MIRA makes use of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) to keep the rollout and the physical and virtual management as easy as possible. This Microsoft product is specifically designed to manage virtual machines running on Hyper-V. System Center Virtual Machine Manager consolidates the virtualization layer and allows Police zone MIRA to efficiently and effortlessly manage the new virtual environment, including the underlying cluster. In addition, creating new virtual machines and converting physical servers to virtual machines happen a lot faster using the templates in SCVMM. And the cluster can also be managed via a management console. The choice for SCVMM was especially because of the user-friendliness, the familiar interface and seamless integration with other Microsoft products

Finally, the virtual environment is controlled using System Center Operations Manager, which ensures that it stays as efficient as possible. The advantages of an integrated monitoring solution such as Microsoft SCOM for Police zone MIRA are clear. They are now able to work much more proactively to the server environment. Thanks to the monitoring, the IT department stays continuously informed of the hardware and software status. The system immediately gives a warning when a problem occurs, so fast action can be taken before a real problem arises. Even in the case of uncontemplated situations, Operations Manager allows them to quickly have a clear view on the precise location and nature of the difficulties, so a lot of time is gained.