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Network Structure / Design & Planning

Posted on 2011-03-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Experts -
One of my clients’ needs a complete network overall, the budget for the project
is 80k (hardware only).

The current network hardware consists of the following:

 1 x       Cisco ASA5510
2 x       Cisco 24 10/100 Port Catalyst Switches
1 x       Cisco 8 10/100/1000 Port ESW 500 Switch
1 x       Cisco 2621XM Router
1 x      Cisco 2100 Series Wireless LAN Controller
2 x      Cisco Aironet 1200 series AP
2 x       Segate Black Amor NAS 8 TB & 4 TB
3 x       Dell Servers (Low End)
50 x  Workstations (mostly Dell)
4 x        HP Laser Jet Printers (4200, 4700, 2430 Series)

They have one main office where most users are located (One Floor). They also have 4 remote offices (3 users per office) located in school buildings who connect to the main office using Cisco VPN.

Current Software:

1.      Windows 2003 Server Standard
2.      Windows XP Pro
3.      Windows Vista Pro
4.      Exchange 2003
5.      Blackberry Enterprise 4.1
6.      QuickBooks
7.      Custom Databases

I want to replace the entire network as is and try to get some inspiration and idea’s from you guy’s how to structure the new network and what kind of hardware you would recommend, the hardware vendors i usually prefer are:

1.      Cisco for Networking
2.      HP for Servers, Workstations, Laptops, Printers
3.      APC for UPS and environmental monitors
4.      HP & EMC for Storage

However I am open to other vendor suggestions as well. The new network will be Windows based; I already bought the following software, so your suggestion should take that into account:

1.      Windows Server 2008
2.      Exchange 2010
3.      Windows 7 Pro
4.      MS SQL 2008
5.      Forefront 2010 Standard Edition
6.      Lync Server 2010 Standard

i.E as a server and storage solution I am considering to get two high power servers with a decent SAN and setup the new servers based on VMware Hosts and VM’s.

Any feedback is appreciated, it dosnt have to be a complet solution if you have suggestions only for security solutions, storage, etc please post them.

Thank you
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Question by:Martin Gerlach
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35155197
Right from the start, 80k for a budget seems a little tight. What's the software budget?

Also, have you priced out the replacement costs based on current equipment?
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Accepted Solution

by:
Kendzast earned 250 total points
ID: 35155237
- Think about VPN licence for ASA because they have remote VPN users. How many? In case that VPN users are terminated on ASA.
- What king of HP servers? ML? BL? DL?
- Virtualization? Xen servers?
- To network topology. I see just access and distribution layer. Maybe core layer is missing for out/in connection.

They also have 4 remote offices (3 users per office) located in school buildings who connect to the main office using Cisco VPN. - This is site-to-site VPN?

- Are you going to use NIC teaming on HP servers? Have you sufficient number of ports?
- Don't forget to configure port security on access ports.

To security:
They have any NTP server? You need Syslog server. You plan to implement 802.1x on wired/wireless ports?  Any radius server (ACS, ISA)? MS Active directory GPO settings...... lot of things :)

This topis is very wide and could write about this for hours :) Hope this little post will help you ;)
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Author Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35155334
@ Nappy - $80.000 Is a tight budget for a 50 user office? All the current equipment will go away or used as a backup. All the Software i need is already purchased, i want to focus on hardware.

@ Kendzast - Maybe my question wasn't clear. Those are the questions i wanted you to answer. how would you build a new network if you had 80k based on the requirements i gave. What firewall would you get, how would you organize the server systems? what desktops would you get? Maybe you would by a huge server and have everyone use terminal server. I just want some ideas.  


I only provided the current configuration so you got a picture of the network size. And to answer your questions the current setup is that the off-site user are connecting from a client VPN to the office.
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Expert Comment

by:Kendzast
ID: 35155583
ASA 5510 is enough for 50 users traffic and also to use as VPN concentrator.
Access layer for users: at least something like Cisco Catalyst 2960-48TC-L (2x 1Gbps uplinks). You plan to add security on switches in future? Or just port security?
Use http://www.ciscowebtools.com/productadvisor/
Server network: FTP or fiber ? What applications are going to run on this servers? Are you sizing the network for 1,2,5 or 10 years?  

You was talking about SAN. This is not cheap. You can use MDS 9000 family and as data storage HP MSA 500/1000 ? It depends how much disk space you need. Or HP EVA 3000/5000 :) Any backup sollution? HP DataProtector maybe.

You will spent most of your money for server, network devices support and licensing.
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35155899
It is a good sized budget but still tight.  I mean you could remove the costs for maintenance, but then as a consultant, sure you could bill your client in the long term for support but they would save by going with manufacturer extended warranties for a 5 year period which would include replacement parts.

Cisco 2621XM- $1400
Cisco ASA5510 $4000
Cisco 2960G 26 port 2 x $1800
Cisco WLC 2100 $2100
Cisco AP1200 2x $1500
50 wrkstns @ $700ea = $35 000

And we still haven't talked warranties for the above product, Storage is still not included.  Storage is not chaep and I certainly would not recommend low cost storage for 4 or 8TB of data.

Also, you still have not accounted for backups.  To disk,in which case, you need to have at least 2-3x your physical disk to have backup versions available.  To tape, LTO 4 or 5 drives start at $4000 depending on manufacturer.
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35155921
Also, I would not have bought Win7 as most desktops you purchase include the OEM version of the OS.  The same goes for the Windows Server OS, you may gotten a better price via the hardware vendor
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Author Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35155949
Wow - OK - i'll try it again.

Imagine YOU get $80.000 and asked to buy hardware to create a network setup for 50 Users, 43 in the main office  and 3 users in 3 remote offices. (Current Production Data usage is around 600GB). The main office internet connection is 100MB UP/DOWN.

You already have the software i mentioned before, with as many licences as you need.

1.      Windows Server 2008
2.      Exchange 2010
3.      Windows 7 Pro
4.      MS SQL 2008
5.      Forefront 2010 Standard Edition
6.      Lync Server 2010 Standard

How would you design the network and what hardware would you use. You have to spend the entire $80,000, once again for hardware only, software is taken care off  (support or extended warenty cant be bought with the Money)  

Here are maybe some more clear questions:

Security
What would you use for internal and external security? You mentioned the ASA5500 series before, would you get the additional cards for IPS/IDS, virus & spyware protection Ani SPAM? Would you get one or two ASA for redundancy fail-over?

Switching
how would you manage your switching? L2 / L3 switch? GB for all users? Or a GB switch backbone for server and backup devices and a 10/100 switch for end users?

What storage solution would u use? Load balancing devices? IDS systems? What kind of server server would you get and how many? Would you use physical servers or VM hosts?  What wireless solution would you choose? Get VoiP system?  What would YOU do with the budget to create a fast, secure network?
0
 

Author Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35155981
@Nappy - no i wouldn't its Non Profit Company. Win 7 Ultra is $12, Server 2008 Standard $60, Exchange 2012 $120. Please let focus on the Hardware structure, software is not important as long as it is compatible with the hard are.
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:nappy_d
nappy_d earned 250 total points
ID: 35157797
-Look at the Dell Zino machines  You can get one with 3GB of RAM and a 19" display for under $500(They come with Windows)
-I don't see why you would want to change the current networking gear if they are still valid and they are not end of life.
-Don't upgrade the printers if they are good, working and not discontinued
-If the production environment is 600GB what kind of growth do you predict because you will need to plan storage accordingly. There are so many options out there and they can eat your budget in a heart beat. however take a look at these units from qnap http://qnap.com/pro_detail_hardware.asp?p_id=184
-You still have not included Backup solutions in your plan.  They are/can also be a big budget eater :)
-If they aready have an ASA unit and it's working and working well, why change it.
-Virtualized servers will allow you to take up less foot print for servers.  The QNAP device I suggested can support this for you in a shared storage environment
- Since you want to go VMWare(potentially), two single qua core servers with 32GB or RAM would do nicely for the the Host OS.
-Now you talk about VOIP, it's difficult to say as you should probably contact a local integrator as a system can run you from $20K and up plus you have branch offices/remote users etc.
-If the office already has cabling in place, what is it Gig or 10/100?  re-cabling is not cheap to have certified electrician/cables pull this in for you.  If anything, just the backbone should be atleast gigE if necessary.
-A question to ask of your client, if you have not already asked is, what do they see for their network.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35158506
You still don't get what i am trying here. Just forget what i wrote before. i want feedback how other IT specialist would design a new network from scratch, what would they use for security, backup, server, remote access, printing  etc... WHAT WOULD YOU BUY and deploy if you where in charge of the project.

Ok, lets say you have 35 users, one main office and 2 off-site locations that only have access to an internet connection, nothing else. No router can be implemented at the off-site locations.

The main office is wired already with CAT5e and the internet is live.  You have no equipment at all. Just 80k to buy hardware, no service agreement, insurance, software, etc

So now take the 80k and tell me what you would by to setup the office. The only requirement is that you will have to use this Software.

No you go online and start shopping, crate a network  that would be a perfect fit for the company. Once again all the money has to be spend.

The Production Data Volume is 700 GB

Again, this the software will use:

1.      Windows Server 2008
2.      Exchange 2010
3.      Windows 7 Pro
4.      MS SQL 2008
5.      Forefront 2010 Standard Edition
6.      Lync Server 2010 Standard

If i am still not cleat please let me know.















 
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Expert Comment

by:Kendzast
ID: 35160695
To nappy_d : I agree. Thumb up ;)

To innovationcc: You have to know what applications are running on the network and how important are data stored there. WEB servers, DB (MS SQL, Oracel,...), Active directory,  Certification authority, Mail, IM , .....
Security issue: Backup, Logging, HIPS, NIPS, L2 security, Management segment, MS MOM, TFTP, Updates, Support / Failover, Redundancy, Virtualization, UPS, Smart cards, Data storage, Correlation, Firewall, GPO, ....

If you need just working network with client and server segmet and ping each other then it's question of minutes to solve this issue :)
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35161058
@kenzast, thanks :)

@innovationcc, what other direction/requests were you provided by the client other than here's my $80k, spend it and make magic happen for us. Have you also asked your clients any questions on the spend?
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35161106
@kenzast, thanks :)

@innovationcc, what other direction/requests were you provided by the client other than here's my $80k, spend it and make magic happen for us. Have you also asked your clients any questions on the spend?
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Author Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35163018
I am sorry, i guess my English is not good enough to explain to you what i was expecting from this group, The stuff you are talking about is useless for me.
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35164709
You asked us how we would spend $80K. It's never about just spending money. There are other factors to consider, hence why I asked what direction has your client given you for their envisionment of the project.

No-one just gives out that kind of money without some expectation, especially a not for profit organization.
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Author Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35166911
I thought that was already clear with the informations and samples i provided in my posts above. Please let me know what informations you need and i am happy to give them to you?

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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35167415
you said
@Nappy - no i wouldn't its Non Profit Company.

Is this a fictional part of your request?

You also clearly stated here http:#26893025 what the client currently has.  Is this true or not?

If both of your above referenced statements are true then my comments here http:#35157797 are what I would say is your BEST way to go in spending LESS of your client's budget.

This is how I would approach the spending of their monies.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Martin Gerlach
ID: 35168284
The no "i wouldn't" was revering to the software licenses, i wouldn't buy computers / servers with the OS installed since it will be more expensive. The NFP gets Win7 licenses for $12 bucks and Server 2008 for $40.

I listed the current hardware so people have an idea of the current structure so they can give better advise / ideas (which i got non so far) on planning a network design. Also i did't ask how to save money for the client I ask for technical advise, the financial part is non of your concern.

The 80k is a State founded Grant which has to be spend on a new IT infrastructure, if the money wont be spend until end of this year it will be lost. All the current hardware i listed above will be donated to a different NFP organisation.

So if you don't have any technical advise on network planning please stop posting. I just wanted to get some ideas from different Experts how they would plan a new network given the requirements and the budget. Instead you are trying to give me financial advise??
 
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35168346
If you purchase from Dell/IBM/HP, their desktops are always bundled with the OS unless you speak with them directly but not sure how that is gonna work for you. I buy 300 desktops every two years just use the OEM license but that's totally up to you.

I am not giving you financial advice however, you want to know how to spend 80K which would include financial sense on where and what to spend that money on.

Good luck
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Expert Comment

by:Kendzast
ID: 35172560
Good choice ;)
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Expert Comment

by:nappy_d
ID: 35172659
Solutions and suggestions were provided based on the author's many iterations to their original post.     I even referenced on pointed out why my options presented were made.
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Expert Comment

by:Kendzast
ID: 35292797
The question from author is not correct. He has budget which has to be expend. It doesn't maters what applications are running on the network if platform should be unified from one vendor, no security issue. The question should be written "I have budget of 80k $ and have to spent them till end of the year. What can I buy to have working network with some servers". Usually you rebuild your IT infrastructure when you going to improve some security, servers are end of sale (support), growing network (more users), new applications ....whatever. If everything is working and just need to spend money so go and buy Cisco CAT6500 and HP Blade servers C class or some DL G5 servers for 30 users infrastructure :)
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