Saturday, May 12, 2007

Client Visit and Plans

This morning I paid a visit to one of my clients to apply some server updates and have a planning session. Unlike a lot of small businesses, they are astute enough to realize that their business depends on their IT systems being reliable and performing well.

Our first priority is to get them setup with a backup Internet connection. Their current cable modem service is very reliable, but on rare occasions it does go down, during which time their productivity goes in the crapper. So, they're going to look into a DSL line to complement the cable modem.

With two Internet services, ideally they'll automatically switch to the backup if the primary goes down. Load balancing the two connections would be good, as well. I'm going to look into both failover and load balancing.

Along with a backup ISP, they need a backup email server at a second location. Due to the file sizes they send and receive through email, they are not a good candidate for hosted mail. One more thing for me to look into.

Sometime in the next year or so, they will probably upgrade their LAN from 100 Mbps switched Ethernet to Gig-E. I'm leaning in the direction of HP ProCurve switches, based on what I've heard (i.e., that they are reliable but significantly cheaper than Cisco). If any readers can offer suggestions here I'd appreciate them. Their current backbone switch has 24 ports and it's maxed out. I'm just starting to look at this so a 36 port switch (if such exists) or a 48 port switch is needed. Or maybe two 24 port switches.

They have a second site that is small but has growing storage needs. A Buffalo Terastation NAS box like they have at the main site may be ideal. How to back it up is also under consideration.

A longterm need they may have is VPN connectivity between their two locations. For this I'm looking at either a Netscreen or SonicWALL solution. Both vendors have good solutions at reasonable prices. Also, both should be easier to configure than something that's Cisco-based.

This stuff should keep me busy for awhile.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Procurve is a great choice and I believe they offer free lifetime warrenties on all switches. They are much easier to configure than Cisco Switches,