Networks run mission-critical business processes and can adversely affect normal operations and profitability of the enterprise. The design, development and implementation of an enterprise system, therefore, has a significant role in the success of that business. This design proposal will provide such a solution for Worldwide Advertising Inc. (WAI). The network infrastructure will include a solution for WAI’s core IT services, as well as provide solutions for application services, active directory, and file and print sharing. The proposal also addresses scheduling and manpower needed for the network infrastructure to run efficiently and successfully, with the long-term viability of the project being considered.
Deployment and Servers
In this implementation, a copy of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition (with Hyper-V) will be used. While it is prudent to select the most inexpensive license that would serve the requirements, the standard version of Windows Server 2012 will not suffice. The current limitations in the number of Hyper-V instances (no more than 2 in Standard Edition) in all but the Datacenter version takes out most of the choice in the matter. This implementation requires at least 7 (Hyper-V) instances for starters, and there might be a need for more as it scales. With expanded Support for large-scale virtual machines, improved import process, live migration, and a slew of other features, Hyper-V has the capability to handle all of WAI’s server requirements. Additionally, Hyper-V will allow WAI to utilize existing servers while still taking advantage of new hardware technology for virtualization.The Server Core will be installed on all servers while roles and features that are not in demand removed. Installing the Server Core and removing roles and features that are not in demand ensure greater stability, reduced maintenance, and a smaller attack surface. All this is because the binary code footprint is smaller, as opposed to what would have been the case if they were not installed (Lynn, 2012).
A total of 10 servers in both office sites (Los Angeles and New York), will be used for WAI’s internal network. WAI will then manage its entire Windows network infrastructure as a single server in its Los Angeles headquarters, with four (4) servers in the New York branch. To install all the servers and operating systems, I will use Windows Deployment Services (WDS). WDS allows the deployment of images for WAI’s network infrastructure. Multicasting could then be used to transmit the images and data, and an Image Capture Wizard is used to create the images. This way, remote deployment and installation of servers can be done. Driver packages can also to be added to the Windows Image Format (WIM) files and deployed to the client computers as part of the install image (Zacker, 2012).
Domain Name System (DNS)
DNS enables everything from sending or receiving an email to browsing the Internet and accessing other critical services, including the Active Directory. DNS in Windows Server 2012 is activated by selecting Add Roles and Features from the GUI. Selecting this opens up an ‘add roles or features wizard’ that guides one through the process. A Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) can also be used for the process. For this Windows Network interface, a hybrid DHCP infrastructure is the most viable option. The primary DHCP server and a backup will be at the headquarters, and relay agents will be at subsidiary offices. This miniLocation of the DHCP servers and relays minimizes the network traffic between the two offices. DHCP can also be used to handle failovers, further stabilizing the system. Automatic IP address allocation will be done to eliminate IP address conflicts and help with excessive network traffic. The network layout will include large subnets that allow for expandability. A split-scope configuration will be implemented to provide fault tolerance. The address range used will be 10.0.0.1 through 10.0.1.300 and 10.0.0.1 through 10.0.0.90 will be excluded on the main DHCP server, with a DHCP split scope exclusion range between 10.0.0.91 and 10.0.1.200. The New York office relay agents will have a boot threshold configured to make sure that the DHCP clients have only the local server pool as a source to obtain IP addresses. DNS design is easily tested and set by one administrator (Zacker, 2012).
|Virtual Server 1||Windows Deployment Service|
File & Sharing services Print Services
|Server 2||Main DHCP Primary DNS Main Active Directory (DC)||Los Angeles||DataCenter|
|Virtual Server 3||Split-Scope DHCP Application Service Terminal Services Web server IIS 7.0||Los Angeles||DataCenter|
|Server 4||iSCSI Failover SAN||Los Angeles||DataCenter|
|Virtual Server 5||iSCSI Failover SAN||Los Angeles||DataCenter|
|Virtual Server 6||File and Sharing Application Services Backup AD Print services||Los Angeles||DataCenter|
|Virtual Server 7||DHCP Relay Agent Primary DNS Active Directory (RODC)||New York||DataCenter|
|Server 8||DHCP Relay Agent Application Services Terminal Services Web server IIS 7.0||New York||DataCenter|
|Virtual Server 9||DHCP Relay Agent Print Services File and sharing||New York||DataCenter|
|Virtual Server 10||File and Printer Sharing Applications iSCSI local SAN||New York||DataCenter|
Fig 1. Deployment Server Considerations
Active Directory, just like Domain Name System, is installed using the ‘add roles and features wizard’. A minimum of two domain controllers per active directory is advisable. At WIA, two domain controllers, one on each site will be implemented. The primary domain controller and a backup will be placed at the Los Angeles company headquarters while the Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) will be put in the New York branch offices so as to reduce unnecessary traffic on the WAN link connecting the two. The use of Active Directory Integrated Zones to process DNS replication traffic through the Active Directory will also be employed. The domain controllers have a universal scope. The parent domain will be called WAI.com and the child domains LA.WAI.com and NY.WAI.com respectively. Each department will be set up as an organizational unit (OU), with the OU’s group scope being global since this includes employees at both the New York and Los Angeles locations. Management of user and data will be done using Dynamic Access Control (DAC) that comes with Microsoft Server 2012 Active Directory Implementation. Permissions are configured to prevent access to data from other departments using NTFS and shared permissions.
The System Center Configuration Manager will provide remote control, software distribution, and OS deployment. Microsoft Server’s Configuration Manager will allow for the deployment of applications to the users’ workstations based on their particular needs. For users to access the network at the office, the manner in which an application is installed may be quite different from, say, if the users accessed the network from home. For this implementation, applications will be deployed through .appx files. Example applications include Windows 8 for the individual user machines, Citrix, Microsoft Office 2013, and all department specific applications such as Sage Accounts, Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection, and SharePoint 2013 to name a few. Applications will have volume licenses and will be tested prior to their installation on the network. Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) will be used to update SharePoint 2013 while third-party applications can be updated using the add-on EminentWare WSUS extension pack (Zacker, 2009). A company website will be implemented through SharePoint 2013. HTML5 and styled with CSS3 will be employed as per current web standards for design and styling. The ASP.Net framework will be used for adding server side functionality to the website with IIS 7, already installed to enable remote desktop being used as the web server. Anonymous access will be turned on at a server and site levels. Lockdown mode will be applied to prevent visitors from viewing sensitive pages or other data. Active Directory schema and application deployment task will take a couple of hours each and can be completed by one administrator while the website will take a web developer a couple of weeks to implement.
Fig 2. Active Directory design with DNS namespace hierarchy
File and Printer Sharing
For the file and printer sharing, the company will use Microsoft guidelines to implement the file service for WAI. Each user will have a home folder for personal storage, and will be granted access to a shared folder. The shared folder will house all documents that need to be shared through a collaborative workspace powered by Microsoft SharePoint 2013. Each site or office location will have an at least two file management servers. Having these four servers, with two being at each location, allows for fault tolerance just in case the WAN link may fail and ensures WAN traffic runs more efficiently. A synchronization routine will be executed to provide for both sites having persistent data. DFS replication used with Remote Differential Compression (RDC) will be implemented to ascertain both sites have the same data with minimal amounts of bandwidth used for files transmission. RDC replicates data on a block by block basis. Hence, only the files that have been changed are replicated, and in this way bandwidth savings are made.
To provide convenient and consistent backups, a Single Unified Directory implementation for the DFS is employed. To allow for the use of multiple servers, a domain-based namespace implementation for the DFS, with home folders using the user’s account names and a shared folder named ‘shared’ is applied. Account names will follow the naming convention of having the first initial of the first name followed by the full last name. For duplicate names, the middle initial is used after the first letter of the first name. If no middle initial exists, a number suffix is added to the last name. For the management of the file storage, the File Server Resource Manager which comes with Microsoft Server will be used. Each user will be given a 2GB storage limit with soft quotas set to alert users and administrators when they have used 90% of their allocated storage limit. User folders will be configured to prevent executable files from being saved. Print services will be made available through Remote Desktop infrastructure, already in place to support installation and deployment of applications. Printers can then be attached as part of the company network to allow administrators to manage the said printers and the printing jobs as needed. In this way, printing jobs that require the administrator’s input do not delay the workflow. The set-up and configuration of File and Print services can be done by a system administrator in a couple of hours.
The advertising industry uses tons of space to store audio, pictures, video, and other media files, making storage critical to WIA. I would recommend 40 TB minimum in total storage between the two WIA offices. Storage spaces will be helpful during this process. Storage Spaces allow you to group a disk into one storage pool, which will allow you to create virtual disks from the available capacity. This provisions a pool, enabling it to grow as needed. The Disk Management snap-in, native in Microsoft Server 2012, will be very helpful in this process. All network drives will be configured using NTFS and GPT partitioning, improving integrity. A Storage Area Network (SANS) will be configured for bulk storage at the Los Angeles company headquarters, implementing RAID 5 and iSCSI technology to support the storage infrastructure. Since hardware versions do not use up system resources, we will use hardware initiator for connecting iSCSI to the target as this relieves the CPU of extra load and processing (Stanek, 2013). The full implementation for WIA’s network interface design will take a week with two system administrators.
A well implemented Windows network infrastructure is vital to the success of any business. A well-deployed network will reduce bandwidth, cut down on up time, and generally streamline the business process. Such a system would also ensure that user permissions are drilled down, and user access to resources and data is secured. In this way, the company targets will be met, and business processes can continue seamlessly.
Lynn, S. (2012). Windows Server 2012. [Sebastopol, CA]: O’Reilly.
Stanek, W. (2013). Microsoft Windows Server 2012 inside out. Redmond, Wash: Microsoft Press.
Zacker, C. (2012). Installing and configuring Windows Server 2012. Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press.
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