Friday, December 03, 2004

Finally The OWA Servers are Finished

I’ve been working to deploy the new Outlook Web Access servers at work. I am the messaging architect at my company and my focus is supposed to be just the messaging portion of the install while others configure the Active Directory, server hardware & operating system, the network and firewall components needed, and even the SSL certificate from Verisign. The project started off on the wrong foot due to a delay in ordering the server hardware. That wasn’t so bad, but it took more than two weeks for the servers to be physically installed, connected to the network, and have the operating system installed. It was only four servers, why two weeks, I don’t know, it should take about a day or two. Now, you would think that an experienced web administrator would know how to get a SSL certificate installed, well, they were installed, but failed to work properly the first time. The problem was, that web administrator went on vacation right after and he was the only one with access to Verisign to manage certificates. After the web administrator returned from vacation, it was still nearly a week before the SSL certificates were installed properly. Our network group nearly came through for us, they configured the load balancer with a virtual IP for the four servers, and a DNS entry. The only thing that was missed on that end was the configuration of port 80 on the load balancer, they only passed 443. While we will require SSL, we still want port 80 so that if you type it without the https, the 403.4 error page will redirect to https://. I was albe to make a little progress while some of the things were being configured, but the bulk of the complicated stuff required the SSL certificates, which were only completed today. Needless to say, I worked my butt off to get it done today. Worked out pretty well, however, we need to do a bit more testing, hold a two week pilot for the end user community, and of course fix anything that we might find wrong during testing or pilot. Oh yeah, did I mention the deadline was December 31, 2004?

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