Case study: Cloud Failover, Load Balancing, Cloud VPN
Marcus Evans is a global, multifaceted media, corporate marketing and information company employing 3000 professionals in 59 worldwide locations. Their core focus is providing businesses with the insights and contacts they need to grow. Their B2B Events portfolio includes over 500 summits and conferences annually across all industry sectors and their professional training division provides customers with access to the world’s leading technical experts on a truly global basis as well as supporting business language and cultural training needs.
“Total Uptime immediately understood our needs and implemented a solution that was exactly what Marcus Evans was looking for.”
– Martin Leedham, CIO
Marcus Evans approached Total Uptime in 2015 to assist with increasing availability for more than a dozen corporate websites as well as a multi-site Microsoft Exchange array used by thousands of employees across the globe. They were looking for a solution that would allow all traffic to easily route away from their primary data center to a secondary data center during unplanned outages or maintenance without the need to update DNS, ensuring a quick and seamless transition for both their visitors and internal users.
Additionally, Marcus Evans’ websites would periodically receive sizeable Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in an attempt to take them offline, requiring specific mitigation techniques beyond the capability of standard Firewall appliances in order to prevent servers or ISP links from becoming overwhelmed.
Finally, with 59 locations around the globe, managing a full mesh of VPN connections was becoming overly burdensome. If one office required a WAN IP change, numerous VPN appliances at other sites required modification to re-establish the full mesh. Furthermore, Marcus Evans was looking for a way to better manage failover between all remote sites and the primary data center and secondary data center for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes.
Total Uptime was able to assist Marcus Evans with these three challenges. Working with their talented team of engineers, we deployed high availability Layer-7 cloud load balancing, failover and DDoS mitigation for the websites and Microsoft client access servers (CAS). Custom monitors were created to actively check the availability of both the web servers and CAS at the primary data center, making dynamic routing changes towards the alternate site when servers become overwhelmed or inaccessible, ensuring high levels of availability for their users.
By deploying the cloud load balancer with Layer-7 DDoS protection enabled, when traffic thresholds are reached, automated mitigation is engaged to challenge excess connections to determine whether they are legitimate client/browser connections, or bots. Bot traffic is then automatically discarded. The threshold approach was utilized to ensure that under manageable server loads, acceptable bots, like search engine crawlers, are not challenged.
To reduce the complexity and pain of managing 59 office VPN connections around the globe, including a full mesh and connectivity back to the primary and secondary data centers, Total Uptime deployed its Cloud VPN solution consisting of three virtual VPN appliances in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific regions all served by a single anycast-based cloud Virtual IP address. The Marcus Evans team then touched each office firewall one final time to remove the multitude of mesh connections and replace them with a single connection to the Cloud VPN end-point. As a result, all routing now takes place in the cloud, reducing management, maintenance and complexity.