A simple yet very effective step you can take to assure a high availability is all but free! It occurs to us that it is no longer acceptable to install ShoreTel on anything other than a VMware ESXi server! Lets face it, you have to purchase a hardware package to host your server regardless of which way you go. You have to purchase a copy of Microsoft Server, regardless of which way you go. So how do we make this more cost effective? From our perspective upgrade the hardware platform you have to purchase anyway, to be a quad core with about 16 -32 GB of memory. ESXi is still available for free, so download and install it on that platform then install the Microsoft Server on top of it!
Now you have your ShoreTel HQ server at the HQ site. No harm no foul and you are positioned to do some really kool things. First, clone the Microsoft Server and bring it up as a DVM. The key here is to install the DVM at the same level as the HQ server, not below it as a child server. Put you HQ users on this server and have this server manage all your HQ site ShoreGear switches. The reason for this is, it is the cheapest most cost effect fail over you can provide. ShoreTel servers fail up, OR across but not down. This means if the DVM fails, the HQ server will proxy for it for those users! Forget all that Double Take Double Talk! Just do it.
While you are at it, bring up a virtual ShoreGear User switch as a "spare" switch and also install the vConference switch. The spare switch enables you to spin up an alternative switch for any site, if a switch at a site goes down. No cost to you unless you don't fail bak in under 45 days! Why would you not do that? Why would you work with a partner who did not just do this as a "best practice". Come on guys, this is like deployment 101, just do it. The freaking conference server is "free" as an IM solution and the licenses for the conference bridge and desktop sharing users is cost effective when compared to anything in the market including GoTomeeting and Webex! Again, what is there to think about?
So now you have your VMware platform offering a HQ server, a fail over DVM server, User Switch and an IM server. Consider that for the cost of a Microsoft Server (you saved that by cloning one, remember) you can purchase (hoepfully from us) a copy of vmware Essentials. This package adds vCenter to the mix and now you are kicking it. vCenter sets up a centralized administration interface for your ESXi servers. You can now setup heartbeats between the ESXi host and the VM machines as long as they are running VMware tools. You can also run heartbeats between vCenter and the ESXi hosts so that on failure of a heartbeat, vCenter launches another instance of whatever serer went down on another cluster host!
Are you freaking kidding me?
The video shows you how to install the DVM at the same level as the HQ server and how to clone a virtual machine. Subsequent videos will explore the high availability and Fault Tolerant options available with vCenter and clustered ESXi hosts.