29 July 2013: KEMP Technologies load balancers are providing a helping hand to keep the IT systems running smoothly at Macmillan Cancer Support. With over 1,500 office staff and homeworkers doing valuable work to help thousands of people affected by cancer, Macmillan has installed KEMP LM-2600 LoadMaster appliances to increase the performance and ensure high availability of its vital Microsoft Exchange email servers.
Founded in 1911 by Douglas Macmillan after his father died of cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support across the UK, from specialist Macmillan nurses and therapists to medical experts and legal advisers along with an army of dedicated volunteers providing everyday help.
To help run this major operation, Macmillan has an IT infrastructure that includes over 400 servers. Most of them are virtual running VMware ESXi 5 and based at the organisation’s main office in Vauxhall, London as well as sites in Andover, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Redditch and Shipley. Of the 1,500 + users, about 75% are office based, while the rest are home or mobile workers with remote access.
Fast and reliable, round-the-clock communication is critical for Macmillan and it was this need that led James Byrne, Systems Support Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, to look for a load balancing solution for its new Microsoft Exchange 2010 servers. “After exploring various options we chose a pair of KEMP LM-2600 LoadMaster appliances that were installed at the beginning of June,” said James Byrne. “A key factor was that the KEMP solutions are certified specifically for load balancing MS Exchange 2010; but they also offer an all-in-one solution with excellent price/performance and features such as SSL acceleration that allows us to offload encryption processing from our servers.”
The KEMP LoadMasters now ensure a fast response and maximum network uptime for Macmillan’s Microsoft Exchange email users, while removing congestion problems during peak times of the day. Users are automatically connected to the best performing Exchange server and if one becomes inaccessible, the load balancer will automatically re-route traffic to other functioning servers.
“The KEMP appliances were very easy to install, straight out of the box and were practically configured for us upon arrival, with just an IP address change and HA setup required,” said James Byrne. “KEMP support has been very immediate and our Microsoft CRM 2011 application and Agresso Business World finance system will be going live on the LoadMasters in the next few months. Based on our experience, we are also looking at migrating other load balanced applications running on our legacy hardware load balancers, for example, to KEMP systems.”
“Charities such as Macmillan rely on high-performance and reliable distributed IT systems to support their staff and volunteers,” said Leigh Bradford, KEMP sales manager for UK and Ireland. “Load balancing has traditionally been seen as a big ticket item for large corporates, but there is growing demand from mid-sized organisations for affordable solutions, particularly for core applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Lync.”
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