Windows Server Review

User friendly and it's compatible with the scalar product applications


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for the SCADA system, for the ITS system, and for the station system. I'm a system programmer and we are customers of Microsoft.

What is most valuable?

The advantage of the product is that it's user friendly, it's compatible with the scalar product applications, it's well known to our own users as well as to our end-user clients. 

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see more features and more functionality to the Microsoft operating system. The solution should be able to connect remotely and create a safer channel between the user and cloud assets, or through the internet. It's one of the biggest challenges we've had this past year. There are a lot of companies competing with each other to apply these features due to the pandemic. 

For additional features, I'd like to see something like third-party applications that would create a hub to receive a connection from outside. It would handle all types of servers to enable remote access for the user from home, so they can safely connect to the system and check in if there is an emergency. You know that the SCADA system is a critical system and you can be considered on-call and notified at any time. It would enable a remote connection rather than the need for long procedures to connect to my network. It could have a third-party authentication so we could connect to the server safely.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used this product since 2008. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is stable with the current application we are using for SCADA but I'm not sure of the impact if you were to use another application or another technology. For the appliances using the firewall, using switches, it's very stable, especially, the critical system which you configure once, and forget about until you need to make another vulnerability scan. For the critical asset, or for the entire system, you'll configure it once, and it's stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Sometimes you need a huge number of firewalls to manage all the assets, so scalability depends on the assets you have in your network. In our case we sometimes only connect seven substations, that's three or four firewalls to manage everything. That includes interconnection with the member states, meaning six countries in the Gulf area that will receive information or data from them. The total number of data is very manageable requiring only three or four firewalls. In general, it is scalable and manageable. We have just under 100 users. We have around 10 technical teams in our control center and 10 engineers monitoring the system who deal with admin, modifications and monitoring the system.

How are customer service and technical support?

Any patching is tested in Dubai before applying it to the production system. We have minimal contact with the IT technical team. Given that the system is very stable, we rarely talk to the Microsoft technical team. 

How was the initial setup?

There is usually a factory acceptance test, but because of the pandemic we have an agreement with our vendor for the latest project that we will carry out the merger in Saudi Arabia.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We're engaged with a reseller who deals with licensing for us. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate this solution a nine out of 10. 

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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