Faxing in the Cloud with Microsoft Azure
Have you ever wondered if you could implement a Fax Server on a public cloud provider’s infrastructure like Microsoft Azure and do faxing in the cloud? If so, you’re in the right place. For many years Connectis Group as a document automation provider throughout has completed hundreds of successful fax server implementations on the customers’ premises and public clouds.
In this blog, I’m going to shed some light on implementing a FaxCore server on Microsoft Azure’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering. FaxCore is a high-performance fax engine designed to deliver fax traffic over enterprise networks of any size. It’s built on the Microsoft .NET platform and lets you fax enable the entire organization, seamlessly. The server leverages web-based technology to deliver cost-effective and simple implementations. Built with a web services architecture, fault-tolerance and scalability are easily achieved.
Before the rise of Cloud Computing era, businesses implemented their critical business application on their own data centers. Cloud Computing and virtualization is gaining popularity these days. It simply is the kind of computing that relies on shared computing resources instead of local servers backed by well-know tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, IBM, etc.
FaxCore could be implemented in a variety of different architectures including but not limited to what we’ll discuss in this blog.
Our goals to implement the fax service in the cloud include:
- A cloud-based infrastructure solution
- Cloud-based telco (no fax boards or voice/fax gateways)
- High Availability
- Fault Tolerance
- Disaster Recovery
The diagram below demonstrates the architecture of a solution that covers all the goals listed above.
A cloud-based infrastructure solution
Microsoft Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud services to help your organization meet your business challenges. It’s the freedom to build, manage, and deploy applications on a massive, global network using your favorite tools and frameworks. We’ve implemented against Microsoft Azure because we’re experts in that environment.
Cloud-based telco (no fax boards or voice/fax gateways)
Since we’re looking for a pure cloud-based fax delivery infrastructure, we’ve chosen to integrate our FaxCore servers with etherFAX. etherFAX is an service designed for secure document delivery. It leverages the internet to manage all business-critical fax communications and eliminate the need for fax boards, media gateways, and other telephony infrastructure. In addition to that, it provides end-to-end encryption.
High Availability, Fault Tolerance, Disaster Recovery
We’ve leveraged the following Azure features to implement HADR & FT:
- Azure Availability Sets
- Azure Load Balancer
- Azure Traffic Manager
- Azure Global VNet Peering
- Azure Cloud Witness
- Multi-region implementation of Windows Server & SQL Server services including:
- SQL Server Always-On Availability Group (SQL AAG)
- Distributed File System (DFS)
- Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
To achieve enterprise-grade security we’ve employed Azure Firewall cloud-native network security to protect our Azure Virtual Network resources and Azure’s DDoS Protection to protect our Azure resources from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. In addition to those, we’ve also used Azure Network Security Groups (NSGs) to filter network traffic to and from Azure resources in an Azure virtual network.
As you can see in the architecture drawing, we’ve tried not to leave any single point of failure and redundancy has been implemented for every component of the architecture. An architecture like this is neither susceptible to regional natural disaster nor any regional service outages.
If you’re a business of any size that’s in the process of deciding on moving your on-prem fax server to the cloud or you’d want to implement brand new fax service in the cloud or even a highly-available, fault-tolerant fax service we can help you from A to Z.