About the Client
A major educational institute in the US, the client was established over 50 years ago to provide professional career training and vocational programs to students in the region. The institute has since expanded to several campus locations in the United States where students attend career training programs in the fields of medical, pharmacy, business, cosmetology and HVAC operations.
With nearly four thousand students spread across seven campus locations, the institute was experiencing difficulties managing their user base with the current IT environment. The Office 365 setup currently used to manage student accounts and maintain the Student Directory did not handle password management services. Thus the institute was required to spend valuable time and resources managing student password requests, in addition to operation and maintenance of the IT infrastructure.
Helpdesk staffs were needed around the clock to provide manual assistance for student services such as user account setup, password management, and updating the student directory. The institute wanted to implement a service in which students could register and reset their password without needing manual assistance from the IT Helpdesk to authenticate and process the request.
The client decided to engage a software development partner to implement a cloud based solution using Microsoft Azure integrated with their Office 365 environment and deploy Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager to handle user authentication. The cloud based solution with a pay-per-use billing model was expected to significantly reduce the infrastructure and resources needed for IT operations. The new infrastructure was expected to improve scalability without compromising on data security for the large number of users spread across the locations.
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Silicus’ Azure development experts designed and configured the Windows Azure environment which hosts the Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager and Domain Controller. The team worked closely with the client to understand the requirement and plan a seamless transition to the Azure cloud platform.
Installation of Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine And Cloud Services
- Create Virtual Machine and setup Windows Azure Service
- Install Office 365 Applications
- Configuration and Testing
Deploy Forefront Identity Manager
- Web Portals created for Forefront Identity Manager
- Customization of portals with client branding
- Custom PowerShell Scripts for user deletion and creation
- Directory Synchronization Tool
Active Directory Controller with Load Balancing
Two web servers were deployed to handle the student accounts and pages and another server hosted the Forefront Identity Manager. Silicus configured the Active Directory controller with load balancing to ensure that the client’s servers efficiently handled the bandwidth demands on the system by configuring the system to balance loads across both server depending on bandwidth usage.
Windows Azure Services (Cloud Platform), Office 365
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter (Active Directory deployment), Windows Server 2008 (FIM Server deployment)
Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2, DIR/Sync tool, Windows Active Directory
Automated Identity Management Solution
The solution helped create a process for students to register and reset their passwords without human intervention. Custom scripts created by Silicus enable automation of user deletion and creation and the directory synchronization tool keeps the Student Directory continuously updated.
Cost Savings with a Scalable Cloud Solution
Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform allows the client to save costs involved in maintaining expensive physical hardware and software infrastructure. Moving their services to the cloud means that the client can continue to scale up the size of their investment on IT services based on usage demands.
Improved Efficiency and Reliability
The Azure solution keeps the client data secure on the cloud while ensuring uptime of the servers and 24 hour access to student services. The Active Directory controller and load balancing configuration actively monitor usage and bandwidth needs and optimize performance.