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    Dilbert's Avatar
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    The Ideal Network / Domain

    Hi all,
    I've recently taken over management of a fairly large school network (1000+ Users), having been here a year its become apparent that the current set-up has been cobbled together, the documentation is almost nonexistent and after a big infrastructure refresh in the summer (new core switches HP5400ís, 10Gig link, VLan implientation and new edge kit) the network is still slow and creaking.

    So my plan is to re-build the entire domain, all on new hardware and start a fresh. So what Iím asking here is, if budget was no object and you wanted to create a new domain for 1000 users what would you do!

    My idea so far:
    2 x Domain Controllers (Running DHCP, DNS, etc)
    1 x File server for staff
    1 x File serve for students
    Both sharing a SAN of disks
    2 x Exchange Servers
    1 x Back-up to disk server with LTO 4 Auto loader on
    1 x Web Server
    1 x Intranet Server

    Now not all of these have to be physical machines, I can use VMís!!

    I throw the floor open to comments and suggestions....

  2. #2

    webman's Avatar
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    DC, replica, 2-3 file servers running some variety of Windows Server.
    Linux servers for web, Zimbra email, Moodle VLE etc

    All running across VMWare ESX/vSphere boxes connected to a big fibre channel SAN.

  3. Thanks to webman from:

    bossman (2nd October 2009)

  4. #3
    mattstevenson2005's Avatar
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    you dont need separate file servers for staff and students, we have two SANs (replicated) connected to two clustered file servers serving almost 1000 users and it works very fast!!, we looked into the possibility of using VMs for our file servers but i seem to remember something not good about storing user data inside the VMs i think its better to store the data on SANs then maybe use a virtual file server to share the files from the SAN

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    Dilbert's Avatar
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    Wow quick reply...

    We're a MS shop here so no VMWare i'm afraid (just don't have the internal know how)... 2008R2 is what the plan is (most of my techs are MCSA or MSP) so we tend to lean quite heavly in MS products.

    The network is all HP 2524, 2650, 2610 and 5308 or 5406 swithes with a gig link to the core and 10gig link between cores.

    Good to see that my thining is still in the land of reality!

  6. #5
    gshaw's Avatar
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    - Virtualised infrastructure based on HP servers
    - Big SAN with secondary SAN off-site and replication between them
    - File serving directly off the SAN so no need for a Windows File Server
    - Gigabit to desktop, 10Gb links back to core switch
    - 2 x DC running server 2008 R2 with DHCP etc
    - 1 x Exchange 2007 setup either clustered or using VMWare HA
    - 1 x Management server with SCCM, SCOM etc
    - Onsite supported Moodle server linked to AD etc
    - SQL Server, web servers as required

    Backup managed with the replicated storage and also backup to tape say once a month

    Now where's the pot of monies

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    DrPerceptron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dilbert View Post
    The network is all HP 2524, 2650, 2610 and 5308 or 5406 swithes with a gig link to the core and 10gig link between cores.
    It's like looking at a network map of my place...

    For network performance - make sure the 5406 does all the routing etc etc and is the default gateway.

    I'd say:

    1x DC, your 2x file servers, 1x backup box.

    Then some form of virtualisation to keep the rest as flexible as you possibly can. You can expand, play and everything else you want without buying new hardware etc. (you'll want 1x physical DC if you go virtualising, it solves a LOT of problems).

    How you choose your virtualisation is up to you, find out though if 2008 can give you everything ESX/Xenserver can give you. (I only know ESX so I'm not suggesting any)

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    2 x Apple Mac pros with dual quad core Xeons, 32 GB Ram per server. Install parallels, Use OSX as the base system for security and reliability, install win2003 or 2008 server onto vm's allocate 6 gig Per virtual server. setup load balancing for the 2 vm's on parallels. Skip exchange and use osx mail services ! Use Ranger on the servers and desktop to lock them down, build a 10-20Tb Backup appliance, use NT backup and duplicate backups to another nas in a different location then to tape or ext HDD and take off site. For file shares, apps and general storage buy 4 drobo pro's or similar with 16tb storage, Iscsi and mirror for redundancy. (really simple to setup and not all that expensive! ) very fast and reliable and with regards to networking simple port trunks, spanning tree and vlans where needed.

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    IanT's Avatar
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    @Dilbert

    what part of West Sussex is your school...........curious about something?

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    Dilbert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanT View Post
    @Dilbert

    what part of West Sussex is your school...........curious about something?
    Actually in surrey, Charterhouse School. Was in west sussex, at Farlington School.

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    IanT's Avatar
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    I always like to go for the simple approach when setting up a network and affordable, setup one school a few years ago with.

    2x Domain Controllers (Running 2003)
    1x Exchange Server 2007
    1x NAS Server (4Tb of Storage)
    1x SIMS Server

    Cisco router and firewall in place.

    Gig backbone, all HP Switches at a gig - nice little setup it was.

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