Wana help me build my network???

Posted on 2004-08-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I have been given the task of completelly revamping our company network. Being a small/medium sized company I am the only IT/Programmer/Help Desk/Therapist.

I thought it might be fun. Anyway, I already have a basic idea of how it is going to work but this could be interesting.

Here is a little background of our company.
1. We are a Mortgage company. We are comprised of 40 employees,  4 Brokers with the rest Loan Officers and Loan Processors.
2. We are strictly Terminal Service based. All users connect over the network using WySE Winterms.
3. Our current migrating to a database driven Loan Origination Software called Encompass written by Ellie Mae.
4. We run a corporate intranet I wrote myself and would like to eventually move from a user/file based system to a user/sharepoint based system.
5. We host our own email server that is filtered by Postini.
6. Did I mention we are opening remote offices???

I think that coveres the jist of our company, now on to the goals and requirements.

Goals and/or Requirements
1. Scalability. I am not sure how big this thing can grow so it needs to be scalable.
2. Redundancy. If something crashes, right now I am the only one to fix it. I would like the Exchange/DSN/Active Directory/SQL server to be clustered if possible and the Terminal Servers to run Network Load Balancing. However I am open to suggestions.
3. Storrage. Being we are just a Mortgage company we don't host a huge number of files. But don't forget #1.
4. Remote offices. We are hosting remote offices using terminal services, we may run into bandwidth issues.
5. Security. We can get into a load of trouble if we get hacked.
6. Windows Windows Windows. I like Microsoft. It will be running Windows Server 2003 Standard/Enterprise and Exchange 2003
Now for the big one
7. It has to come in the range of $20,000 - $30,000 licensing and all
8. Assume I have no current hardware/network other than what the clients use to connect.
9. All Servers/Storage must be Dell

I think that covers it. If could assign 50,000 points for this I would :o)
Any ideas are appreciated and I will be tracking this and putting together the ideas.
Question by:JoshDale

Expert Comment

ID: 11919122
Since you say all servers must be Dell, you should contact Dell and they will help you design the whole network/system.
They will also educate you at the same time - or rather, you will learn a lot from the experience of doing this with people who know what they are doing, instead of trying to do it alone.
I believe these days Dell sells more than servers - they probably also sell some network equipment.

The scope of what you want is far beyond what you can get in a few online postings - it is a significant project that will take time and effort.

Dell will help you to define it and also to explain it to your management.
Just like IBM used to do for their customers - and still do.

Expert Comment

ID: 11919243
Kudo CajunBill.

Expert Comment

ID: 11919617
You need Exchange, DNS, Active directory , SQL and Terminal services.

So we can make groups of the services that can run together.

so we can run Active directory, DNS and terminal services together on one high capacity server.

and EXCHANGE and SQL server can be run together on one high capacity server.

now as you said you want them to be in clustered and Load balancing.

for cluster of EXCHANGE and SQL you will need an external SAN hardware which is very much costly. so I recommend you to drop the IDEA of using Cluster.

as far as server online time is concerened I recommend you to make an additional server for all applications and services as follows.

Make one Domain controller with Active directory , DNS and terminal services Installed.

Make another server as an Aditional Domain controller with Active directory , DNS with secondry zone, and Terminal services installe on it.

Install one server with exchange server and SQL server. Configure the exchange server to send and recieve e-mails, and cofigure the SQL server as a PUBLISHER and DISTRIBUTOR on its own for replication. and configure the replication as the TRANSACTIONAL replication.

Now install the other server with Exchange server and configure it to join the existing forest and doamin so that it could become the additionalmail server.Install SQL on this server and configure it as the SUBSCRIBER TO THE ABOVE SQL SERVER.

So in total you will need four servers for the load balancing and for incresing the upload time of the server.

One thing more I recommend is to use a good firewall product with lots of flaxibility and security and place all these four servers behind that firewall for this again you need a mid ranged server.

In order to use the terminal services in the application server mode you will need to purchase licenses for the clients. What I recommend you is to use Linux on clients machine and ask them to login to the terminal server of windows for which you have purchased the licsences.This will help you saving the licsence of client side OS.

As far as your STORAGE need is there I think Two 36 or 40 GB SCSI disk in a RAID MiRROR form on one server will be enough for you. I also Recommend to use some online replicating software which replicates the data nad even the open files also over the network to the secondry server so that your data is available in case of the faliure of the primary servers.One of the s/w is Double-Take from SUN BELT.

Rest you can discuss all this plan with DELL and if they have some thing better or any modifications in this plan then you can go for that.

But you will need a person wit the technical knowledge of performing all these tasks.
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Author Comment

ID: 11921260
I will be doing all the networking. When I get a chance I will post a visio drawing of what I had planned.

Author Comment

ID: 11932442

This is basically it, pretty simple.
The Exchange Servers will also be domain controllers, SQL Servers (small database), and host our lo software.

I am looking into direct attached storrage for the exchange servers. http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/scsi?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd
I chose this solution because it can be clustered... and is cheap.

I will also be using NAS for the Term Cluster because we don't have that many employees so I don't see a huge performance hit.

I already have a dell small business rep, but he is pretty much worthless. He is only good for giving me pricing.

Expert Comment

ID: 11933322
hi, there

Since you stated future growth is there a number of future office's ??.
What kinda link leased line how much bandwith are you going to use ?.
How many users on each location ?.
Will there be any remote access. ??. Home users. Travel.


Author Comment

ID: 11933373

possibly 10 - 15 offices. Currently we have 3
Right now we have a T1. When we start the other offices we will expand.
Off site users may be up to 200
We work mainly with remote access (Terminal Server) all employees use it so they can access their resources anywhere.

Expert Comment

ID: 11933378
Just a quick thought

I'm thinking of Cisco 3600 Series router as the HQ Pointer, Cisco 2600 Series router on each remote office (since the both do Frame relay + ISDN modules).


Expert Comment

ID: 11933396
Hi, Josh

These 200 off site users how do they connect ? ISDN, XDSL, VPN ?

Author Comment

ID: 11933474
Right now they connect vpn using sonicwall products, however, we have been having problems with the remote sonicwall firewall's. Every once and awhile they need to be rebooted, which isn't good.

I will look into the 3600's.

Expert Comment

ID: 11933688
do you want to be able to use VOIP in the future. ? for all internal + remote users ?

Author Comment

ID: 11935829
We already have a provider for that, the phone system is all taken care of.

Accepted Solution

cooledit earned 2000 total points
ID: 11939931
ok here is my plan:

Head Quarter:
Cisco 3660 model with 1 Ethernet interface + up to 6 modules consisting of (NM-2CT1 2-Port Channelized T1/ISDN-PRI Network Module) = up to 12 * T1 Lines.

Remote access users: T1 VPN as today, future VPN concentrator,
Security ISDN with Callback
Dell 6024 Multilayer switch 24 ports for internal routing, 3348 for access switch.

Exchange: Dell 2650
Domain AC + File Server + Print , Terminal Server Dell 2650
SQL+Logon Server+Print,  Dell 2650
Terminal Server Dell 1750

Remote office:
Cisco 2621 Model with Dual Ethernet card + 1 NM-1CT1 (T1/ISDN-PRI Network module).
Dell 3348 port switch.


Expert Comment

ID: 12130685
I didn't see many answers in response to acess layer switching in IDF locations.  Is this a concern that I could possibly lend a hand with?

Author Comment

ID: 12134275
Sorry, I have been too busy to post. Cooledit, thanks for the help, you can have the points.

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