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Lessons from (IT) Geese

Birds migrate in flocks, which means every individual has the support of others

Birds migrate in flocks, which means every individual has the support of others. IT often migrates alone – but it doesn’t have to.

Lessons from Geesepdf-icon has been around a long time. It is often cited and referenced, particularly with respect to teamwork and collaboration. The very first “lesson” learned from geese migrations applied to human collaboration is this:

Fact #1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the others behind it. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of another.

That’s probably not surprising at all and the basic lesson is one we’re all familiar with, no doubt.

Fact #3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership, as with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skill, capabilities and unique arrangement of gifts, talents or resources.

This lesson works well, if everyone is a goose is similarly talented at flying. But within IT there are myriad skill sets being used that must come together to migrate implementations from one version to another. It’s not just software – it’s data stores, identity stores, switches, and application delivery systems. There’s a lot of different skills required to successfully migrate large, business critical systems. And we can’t just pick a random goose to lead when it comes to migrating specific subsets and components; we need experts in various systems to assist. And sometimes, we don’t have the right goose. So we have to find one.

“A Plan-Net survey found that 87% of organizations are currently using Exchange 2003 or earlier. There has been a reluctance to adopt the 2007 version, often considered to be the Vista of the server platform — faulty and dispensable.”
-- 10 reasons to migrate to Exchange 2010

This doesn’t explain a reluctance to move to Exchange 2010. With larger mailboxes, virtualization support, voicemail transcription, and higher availability, what’s not to like?

Significant changes in the underlying architecture – which cascade into the infrastructure – may be one of them. Upgrading a business critical service like Exchange requires more planning and forethought than upgrading to the latest version of Angry Birds, after all. Continuity of service is required even as the new version is put in place. And while there are plenty of experts who can help with the migration of Exchange, there are fewer that can help with the migration of its supporting infrastructure services.

F5 has an answer for that, a skilled goose, if you will, who can take the lead and keep the organization on track.

Introducing: F5 Architecture Design for Microsoft Exchange Service

The F5 Architecture Design for Microsoft Exchange service comprises an intense three days of discussion, information gathering, analysis and knowledge-sharing of network considerations for the optimal deployment of Microsoft Exchange in an F5 network environment. F5 Professional Services consultants with Exchange expertise conduct assessments during which they review your current network and future needs to streamline your new implementation, upgrade or migration to your preferred version of Microsoft Exchange.

Plan

During the project kick-off call, F5 Professional Services consultants make sure to understand your overall project goals, flag dependencies, and validate that all questionnaires and information requirements have been addressed prior to the initiation of the engagement.

Analyze

The F5 Architecture Design for Microsoft Exchange Service facilitates the discussion, analysis and development of the network architecture requirements that best support your Exchange deployment. The engagement starts with an overview and whiteboard discussion of F5 technology, focusing on topics of high availability, scalability, security and performance.

Next, the consultants engage in conversations about mail deployment for legacy mail systems or new deployments, touching on sizing, security and service-level agreements. Finally, they review the architectural components specific to your environment, including network flows, client access, unified messaging, and considerations of single vs. multisite deployments.

Design and Report

The F5 Professional Services consultants consolidate the results from the analysis phase and deliver a Proposed Microsoft Exchange Network Architecture and a Proposed Network Migration Plan report detailing the recommendations.

F5 consultants intimately understand F5 BIG-IP® systems and their operation, and can draw on the F5 Solutions for Microsoft Exchange Server. You can be assured of the thoroughness and relevance of their recommendations. The consultants’ reports provide you with the blueprint for flexible and cost-effective communication and collaboration in your organization.

For more information about the F5 Architecture Design for Microsoft Exchange service, use the search function on f5.com or contact [email protected]

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More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.