Domain consolidation delivers reduced costs and improved security, productivity for Powertech

Powertech has successfully completed an extensive project to consolidate multiple domains.

May 28, 2013

With help from its sister company, Bytes Systems Integration, Powertech has successfully completed an extensive project to consolidate multiple domains. The project is helping Powertech reduce its IT costs while improving security and boosting productivity.

Powertech, a wholly owned subsidiary of the JSE-listed Altron Group, is a leading manufacturer and supplier of world class products, services, expertise and solutions of electrical and power equipment.

A period of rapid growth had led to unplanned growth in Powertech’s IT environment. The result was a number of domains running different versions of Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange—a heterogeneous environment that was hard to manage effectively and delivered uneven service quality.

“It made huge sense for us to consolidate our domains with a centrally managed Active Directory and Exchange environment,” says Gavin Mack, group information manager at Powertech. “Our vision was to create a state-of-the-art environment managed according to Microsoft best practices, and with sufficient redundancy to be available 24/7.”

Powertech enlisted the services of its sister company, Bytes Systems Integration, to help achieve its vision. It was no easy ride for Bytes because Powertech, in line with the Altron Group’s pursuit of excellence, required a zero-defect rollout.

“It’s always risky making changes to Active Directory domains because they are central to the organisation’s total IT environment,” confirms West McMullin, director at Bytes Systems Integration. “Given the strain that the migration would put the wide-area network under, we needed immaculate planning and execution of the entire process.”

The migration included the synchronisation of e-mails, SharePoint and SQL installations, as well as the transfer of file and print servers to the central location.

To mitigate the risk inherent in this massive consolidation exercise, Bytes deployed swing servers to assist with the build of the second domain controllers and Exchange servers. The migration took place over weekends to minimise business impact. An additional challenge was that user profiles had to be kept as they were, creating an added level of complexity.

As part of the process, Bytes also designed and implemented a common security design for the entire domain.

The successful consolidation resulted in 1,800 users being migrated to a single domain that is secure, optimised and scalable for future growth. Other benefits include reduced costs through standardisation, improved services through centralised management capabilities, a solid foundation for Exchange and SharePoint, and improved workstation security. An additional benefit is that the single domain environment is easier to back up and restore in the event of a disaster.

“Our central domain has also enabled us to improve data governance, and supports better collaboration across the company—a vital benefit in today’s fast-moving business environment,” says Mack. “Because the simplified system is so much easier to manage, we have also been able to improve service levels for our users, thus enhancing their productivity.”