About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

For generations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has offered its customers high quality health insurance at a competitive price and has led the charge toward better health and health care in their state. BCBSNC is a fully taxed, not-for-profit North Carolina company with headquarters in Chapel Hill and major operations centers in Durham and Winston-Salem. They employ more than 4,000 North Carolinians and serve more than 3.7 million customers.

Development Goals

BCBSNC had a very basic Lync 2010 deployment in which they used for internal Instant Messaging conversations which consisted of 3 FE servers with the AV service collocated. They also had a polycom voice system that they used for audio conferences that was malfunctioning and running out of available lines, so they sought the ExchangeHub’s expertise in order to deliver their messages fast. BCBSNC also wanted to expand Lync to handle more conferences by separating the AV role into 2 separate servers and to integrate Lync with their current Avaya telephony system. Finally, they needed to add external access by introducing a couple edge servers to the environment.

Development Details

Our ExchangeHub consultant removed the AV role from the front end servers and deployed it in their own HA pair. We configured 2 HA mediation servers for integration with the Avaya system and configured the Lync environment to communicate with 2 Avaya session managers for full integration. ExchangeHub also deployed an edge server in a test environment with an F5 Big IP to act as a reverse proxy and load balancer.  2 edge servers were deployed in an HA pair in Blue Cross’ production environment for external access and federation with Fujitsu, who is in charge of their infrastructure. We’re currently in the process of introducing an SBC into the environment for redundant path and expanded capacity.

Technologies Used

  • F5 Big IP
  • Avaya Session managers
  • Avaya Communications Manager
  • Lync 2010
  • Wireshark
  • Checkpoint firewall

The Result

The Avaya Integration and AV servers are both running smoothly, allowing BCBSNC to facilitate meetings and communication efforts easier than ever. Because of strict BCBSNC safety policies, the edge server is in the final stages of configuring. Audio conferencing will roll out to production at the end of April.