Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation Successfully Completes IT Upgrade Using Microsoft Server 2003 Technology





ESTI is pleased to announce the successful completion of an Information Technology systems upgrade for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF). The STF upgraded their existing network and email systems to the latest offerings from Microsoft, HP, and Barracuda Networks.

ESTI Consulting Services provided hardware and software recommendations which were supplemented with consulting services facilitating the technology upgrades and email migration. ESTI analysts upgraded the STF Windows domain to Windows 2003 server and upgraded Exchange 2000 to Exchange 2003 Enterprise. As part of this technology upgrade, ESTI also installed a perimeter email security device. The device chosen, after completing research of competing products, was the Barracuda 300 SPAM firewall.

The server architecture selected by the STF was the HP Proliant line of servers. Two DL380 rack mount servers were purchased with 2GB RAM running RAID 5 on three 72GB U320 15,000 RPM drives. ESTI analysts configured and installed these servers in the STF data centre. As a result of this upgrade, the STF continues to demonstrate their desire to remain at the forefront of information technology in Saskatchewan.

The Exchange 2003 Enterprise upgrade has removed the 16GB limitation imposed by Exchange 2000 server on the information store. The STF was approaching this limit and continues to actively monitor email storage capacity on its network.

The Outlook Web Access (OWA) client mimics the Outlook 2003 MAPI client and provides easy access to the global address list. The new web client includes functionality for a spell checker, task lists, and HTML content blocking. Outlook Web Access was configured with 128-bit SSL encryption, providing secure access to email for STF employees away from the office.

With IT security on everyone's mind, Microsoft has answered and delivered the most secure server operating system ever released from the Redmond, Washington Corporation. Services such as IIS and SMTP are disabled by default upon installation of the server operating system; these added security features are part of Microsoft's new secure computing initiative.

Barracuda Spam Firewall

The Barracuda Spam Firewall was moved into production on February 26, 2005. Since the implementation date, the STF has received approximately 85,000 email messages. Out of these messages, the Barracuda has blocked 1,400 messages due to viruses and an incredible 70,000 email messages have been blocked due to SPAM. Using an easy productivity calculation based on the average user spending 3 seconds per message to determine whether or not it is SPAM, the STF has saved 58.3 working hours throughout the organization. The user productivity time savings will quickly cover the cost of the Barracuda SPAM firewall within two to three months.

Note: These statistics were gathered after 3 weeks of running the Barracuda Spam firewall in production.

Barracuda Web Interface

More information on this product can be obtained from http://www.barracudanetworks.com.

Congratulations to the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation on implementing this major initiative to secure their email systems and network infrastructure.

ESTI provided the following services to the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation for this upgrade:

  • Project management
  • Data migration
  • Printer migration
  • Email configuration including SSL for Outlook Web Access
  • Firewall configuration
  • Operating system configuration
  • Quality assurance
  • System testing
  • Backup configuration

Grant Andres, Collin Seebach, Joel Schmaltz

Project Team

  • Collin Seebach, STF Information Systems Support Specialist
  • Joel Schmaltz, ESTI Senior Analyst
  • Grant Andres, ESTI Analyst