Just as soon as Andre Barte assumed his new position of IT Administrator for the City of New Brighton, Minn. he encountered a situation every IT administrator dreads: the Microsoft® Exchange Server crashed, leaving the City’s staff without Outlook e-mail.
A Trial by Fire
“I was doing an assessment of our servers, our network, our entire infrastructure, when Outlook went down,” Barte says. “We called our solution provider Computex Technol¬ogy Solutions, for help and discovered our Exchange servers were completely maxed out. The team at Computex not only suggested a short-term Exchange fix, implement¬ing a virtual machine to lighten the load, but also recommended a long-term plan to do the same for all the servers in our data center,” Barte explains.
Though Barte knew the City of New Brighton had an existing relationship with Computex, the Exchange outage and subsequent fix cemented his resolve to con¬tinue the relationship and ensure they had all the bases covered moving forward, he says. “It was a great ‘proving ground.’ Once we saw their techs working with our gear and infrastructure, I signed a comprehensive support agreement to ensure we will always have a backup plan and the support we need,” Barte says.
Barte is one of a two-man team in charge of the entire IT infrastructure for the City of New Brighton, which includes 155 employees in six separate buildings for the departments of Family Services, Water Treatment, City Hall and Public Works, as well as the City’s police station. “In a worst case scenario, our agree¬ment states that Computex can assist in day-to-day operations and keep the City’s public IT infrastructure operational — that’s how much we trust their engineers and their support,” Barte says.
A Long-Term Solution
When Computex recommended replacing the City’s aging backbone, Barte was com¬pletely on board. Working together with Computex’s engineers, Barte and his colleague determined that the existing 3Com network core was meeting the City’s uptime and reliability needs, and decided to start replacing the problematic switches at the remote locations first. Barte researched replacement technology for the switches at the six re¬mote sites, and asked Computex for a live demonstration of Juniper Networks’ EX4200 switch at New Brighton’s Department of Family Services building.
“We had Computex put two switches in place, one in our main data center and one at New Brighton Community Center, running simultaneously with our existing equip¬ment,” Barte says. “We were pleased with the faster speed, the intuitive GUI (graphic user interface), the ease of installation and the simplified management, and then, over the weekend, I got an alert,” Barte says. A spanning tree error developed, forcing the City’s 3Com infrastructure from a forwarding state to a blocking state, effectively crip¬pling the network. Frantic, Barte called Juniper Networks support for assistance with the issue at hand.
The Juniper Networks engineer calmly accessed the Juniper switches operating in the test environment and reported to Barte the date and exact time the error happened, and identified the port where the error was occurring. The technician then activated the Juniper Networks switches into the production environment and brought the net¬work back to life using the demonstration equipment, Barte explains.
“If anything proved to me that Juniper Networks was the way to go, that was it, ” Barte says. “First thing the following Monday I called Computex and said, ‘Sign me up!’”
A Trustworthy, Reliable Partner
“The beauty of Juniper Networks solutions is that it doesn’t care what vendor’s technol¬ogy it’s connected to,” says John DeRocker, president, Computex. “The Juniper Networks gear doesn’t discriminate based on anything else in the network, the price is phenom¬enal and the reliability and speed are unmatched,” he comments.
“This was a unique situation, sure, ” DeRocker says, “But for us, Juniper Networks proves itself. It was a success for us, for Juniper, and ultimately for the City of New Brighton.”