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How to start IT Consultation


I have a friend that need my help at his work, in software and hardware, and I don't know how to start.

There are some servers.
There are software such as MS Exchange, MS SQL, MS Axpta, ...etc.

He wants me to give him a report about how to develop his infrastructure.

As I see, they need to upgrade many of their software. But, I feel that I don't know how to start this job.

Any suggestions, please.
Abdurahman Almatrodi
Abdurahman Almatrodi
5 Solutions
Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
Firstly you need to understand do they have an Infrastructure in place if so what is the current versions or setup.

Next you need to find what is the Best upgrade path for those softwares and better for their infrastructure needs.

- Rancy
WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyCommented:
FIRST and CRITICAL I didn't hear you say anything regarding backups, what status is your backup plan in? I would start from here first and foremost so you have a point to recover from while moving forward if you run into any bottlenecks...which often happens.

Second planning and more planning, write down equipment specification from hard drive space, what is free and used, type of drive configuration (RAID 5, 10, etc), amount of ram etc, if I were you I would breakdown hardware and software and fill out as mush detail as possible.

Other specs is how many users, do they need exchange or can they host in the cloud, feel free to provide information here and we'll accommodate as much as possible, there is allot that goes into a migration / upgrade but first I'd start with the status of the backups, can't emphasize this enough.
helpfinderIT ConsultantCommented:
You should ask for some documentation, if they have any, to better understand their infrasrructure. If they do not have, more work for you. You should investigate what they have, what sw they are running on which hw. What is the status of the servers and systems (SQL, exchannge, sharepoint, dpm, lotus notes, sap, ... ) running on them (versions, updates, SPs, ...). Another part is lan, how all the equip is connected what routers, switches, vpns are they using.
Then you should sit with some decision maker from company and ask him what is a ckmpany vision for it and their infrastructure, what system are core systems for them. Based on your research and company`s perspective you should prepare scenarios or suggestions how to manage all this stuff (rearrange network devices, make documentations, update servers and systems running on them, backup plan, get rid of sw and hw waste,recommend sw/hw purchase, maybe virtualization if possible etc.)
But from my point of view initial infrastructure research is must have, then documentation and last but not least sugestions made basedo previous points.
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
MS Exchange:
Need to know what is the user count and data transfered everyday ?
How would the backups be done and date to retain the backups.
What is the current version and what would be best suited "Exchange 2010 (Std or Ent)" ??
Do they have Raid as E2k10 is said to be better on JBOD "Bunch of disks attached to SAN" :)

What is the current specs and what all DB's are residing on it (Blackberry, Office Communicator, etc).
Plan Movement to next stable version and amount of Storage :)

Somewhat on same grounds you have to check for most applications

- Rancy

current setup

current problems/issues

what they want and why

your finding and recommendations
The suggestions here are great, but I'd like to emphasize mo_patel's third one: "what they want and why".  All too often I see systems that are overbuilt for the present and medium- to long-term needs of the company.  This may stem from my focus on small (less than 20-user) networks.

Try to overlook what the client wants in the way of technology as opposed to what they want (and can use) in terms of results.

Are you suggesting upgrades because they are "newer and better" or are there specific features (or other improvements such as reliability) that would be useful to the client?

I will also thrown in a second for WORKS' comment about backups.  That's one thing that shouldn't be overlooked, no matter how good the hardware is.
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