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Collect Data about Available Resources

Before you design your System Center 2012 Configuration Manager deployment, you must
understand the available network infrastructure and your companys IT organization and
requirements.

Networking Fundamentals
Determining Client and Network Requirements
2. Determining Client and Network Requirements
Introduction

3. Introduction
Before you begin designing a network you need to have a clear sense of the clients expectations.
Too often in the past, technology has been purchased or developed without a clear idea of why it
is needed.
The aim is to find a solution that fits the requirements, not a requirement that fits the technology.

4. Determining Client and Network Requirements


Identifying Organizational Requirements

5. Identifying Organizational Requirements


A prerequisite to good network design is to discuss the clients networking needs, as this will
enable you to analze the various issues the network needs to address.
To do this you will need to arrange several meetings with the client.
Initially these meetings will probably focus on fairly broad managerial type issues, but as you
obtain more and more information about the clients needs you can then arrange meetings to
discuss specific issues.

6. Defining

Business

Objectives

You should start the analysis process by asking the client some questions about the desired
functionality of the network, such as:

What tasks would the client like to automate or make more efficient?
What business applications does the client need to support?
Does the client simply want to have shared access to word processing files, or do they
have multi-user databases to support?
Does the client require electronic mail and Internet, perhaps even a web server?
Is the client planning to incorporate EFTPOS operations into the network?
What is the estimated size of the network; how many users will the network service?
How important is network security?
Does the client have an existing network, and what is its function?

7. Defining Business Objectives


Once you have considered all the business tasks and functions the client requires, write them
down and assign priorities to each item this is the beginning of your network plan.
As you create the plan, consider which parts you can do now and which can be addressed later,
taking care of critical business functions first.

8. Defining Business Objectives


The following points address some of the issues that should be included in the network plan:
9. Defining Business Objectives

Sizing the Network


It is important to have a clear idea of the networks expected size, taking in to consideration
the number of users and the level of use.
Plan for future growth by building in extra capacity from the beginning.
Consider what capacity the client may need in two or three years and how an increase in the
number of users will affect data storage needs.
A good network should be designed to grow easily with the careful addition of existing
technology.

10. Defining Business Objectives


Following a Standards Approach
It is important that you plan and build the network using standard industry-proven components.
As business relationships change, the network may need to interconnect with others.
It is therefore wise to design a network that is not likely to pose compatibility problems.
If you are designing a network for an independent branch of a larger organisations, obtain copies
of current network operations and use these as your standard.

Connectivity
What types of external connections will the network need?
Is Internet access necessary?
If so, will a dial-up connection suffice, or will you need a fill-time dedicated link?
Will the client require remote access for their staff?
One of the most challenging aspects of designing a network involves setting up links to external
networks.
Not only are these the most technically complex tasks of implementing a network, but they also
carry significant costs, that the client needs to be aware of from the very beginning.
Connectivity
Many organizations maintain a web presence via the development of an Internet home
page, allowing them to showcase their goods and services to the general public.
However, there is much more to the Internet than simply creating a home page.
It is important to make the client aware of the various Internet services available as well as
the technical issues surrounding the implementation of those services.
You need to make sure that the client is well informed about the potential security issues
involved in connecting their network to the Web.

The first question you should ask the client is what level of Internet access they require: do
they want the use the Internet to promote their own business or to access information?
If the organisation simply wants to set up a home page to provide client information, then
they may choose to contract an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a web designer to
maintain their web presence, with little if any interruption to internal network services.
If the organisation decides that they would like their staff to have Internet access, to be able
to send emails and browse the web, then the task becomes more difficult, and more costly.
Security
While the network operating system is responsible for maintain the overall security of the
network, especially in terms of user access and authentication, the type of network hardware
used can also have an impact on security.

Consider the following hardware-related security risks:


The nature of wireless networking means that a potential hacker does not need to have
physical access to the network.
Establishing a permanent Internet connection via ADSL potentially makes the network
accessible to anybody connected to the Web.
The risk may be minor, but it is important to make the client aware that a risk exists.
Of course there are also a number of hardware solutions that can be implemented to help
minimize risk and improve security.
For example
Using intelligent routers with built-in firewalls which offer a higher level of security than
those without
Using a switch or bridge to partition sensitive areas of a network from public access areas
17. Defining Business Objectives
Security
The level of security required is going to depend on the type of information stored on a
system.
For example, a video store is going to have limited security requirements whereas a legal
firm is going to have significant security requirements.
18. Defining Business Objectives
Interoperability
This refers to the hardwares ability to communicate and interact with different hardware and
operating systems.
When recommending new hardware you need to consider what type of hardware is already in
use and make sure that the new component is compatible.
You should also consider what standards exist within the industry: if most other industries in
this organisation use XYZ, and you advise the client to use ABC then you need to make sure
that the two systems are compatible.
19. Defining Business Objectives
Ease of Use
The hardware needs to be easy to use, especially for the end user.
In situations where the client requires ongoing administration access to the system, then the
recommended hardware should come with an easy-to-use configuration interface, as well as
good quality documentation.
20. Defining Business Objectives
Software Compatability
You need to know what software the client intends to run, both now and in the near future.
Advising the client on a particular piece of hardware, only find that it does not support the
clients operating system or application software is embarrassing and can be extremely
expensive.
21. Defining Business Objectives
Warranty
Most manufacturers offer some level of warranty on their hardware, but these can vary
greatly not only from manufacturer to manufacturer but also from item to item.
For example, some manufacturers have a return to base warranty which means that if a
hardware component fails, it needs to be couriered back to the manufacturer for inspection
and repairs or replacement, and this can take several weeks.
22. Defining Business Objectives
Cost
Most clients will tell you that the most important requirement they have is cost and they are

right.
However what many people fail to realize is that the cheapest option is not always the best,
and what the client really needs is not the cheapest but the best value for money.
As an IT professional advising a client on network hardware it is your responsibility to
ensure that the hardware you recommend offers the best value for money possible.
23. Defining Business Objectives
Existing Infrastructure
If a network already exists, then it is important to consider the existing infrastructure as it
may limit what options are available.
In order to do this you will need to meet with other technical staff as well as gain access to
any existing network documentation
24. Defining Business Objectives
Existing Infrastructure
Some of the issues you will need to address include:
Can any of the existing hardware be reused?
Will the new hardware be compatible with the existing hardware?
Will the new hardware be compatible with the existing software?
What effect will the new hardware have on productivity?
Will the new hardware enable any new functions to be undertaken (for example, video
conferencing)?
How many users will benefit from the installation of the new hardware?
How long will the new hardware take to install?
What sort of disruption to existing services is likely during the installation of the new
hardware?
25. Determining Client and Networking Requirements
Working with the Client
26. Working with the Client
In order to ensure that the network design best suits the clients needs, you will need to work
closely with them over a number of days, weeks or even months.
This will require you to organise meetings with the client.
You will also need to meet with a number of different personnel within the client
organisation, such as team managers, key employees, and with other maintenance support
providers and managers.
27. Working with the Client
It may not be necessary to meet with key employees as a group since mostly their team
managers will represent them.
It may be more productive to conduct a number of informal interviews or meetings with
individual employees and simply make notes of their business requirements.
You should make it clear that you value the contribution of these employees.
28. Conducting Meetings and Interviews
Meetings and Interviews involve communication and collecting data, by asking questions and
discussing various issues concerning the network requirements.
The objective is to obtain information that can be analysed in order to determine
requirements.
29. Conducting Meetings and Interviews
To do this successfully, a range of skills are required:
Speaking
Listening
Observing

Understanding
Questioning
Analysing
Note Taking
30. Conducting Meetings and Interviews
Some helpful things to remember include:
Your speech should be clear and understandable: do not talk too quickly and avoid technical
jargon.
Many clients just want a computer network that works, and are not concerned with all the
technical detail.
They also want to know that they are dealing with professionals, so remember to be
courteous and helpful.
31. Conducting Meetings and Interviews
Some helpful things to remember include:
Develop good listening habits: concentrate on the speakers message and listen for the main
ideas, concepts or principles.
One technique that can be used to improve listening skills is active listening.
This means listening to what the person is saying and mirroring what you believe has been
said, by paraphrasing or summarising their words.
In this way, errors and misconceptions can be corrected
32. Conducting Meetings and Interviews
Some helpful things to remember include:
Take notes, but do not write down everything word for word.
Listen and think before writing, then record the key words.
Notes help you recall information revealed during the interview.
33. Conducting Meetings and Interviews
In between meetings, you should be talking to vendors of equipment and services relating to
the network plan.
You should be very familiar with the costs, the services offered and the weaknesses of these
vendors.
As you become familiar with these, you will be better positioned to understand and
recommend an appropriate solution for the organisation.
34. Conducting Meetings and Interviews
It is also useful to maintain good documentation throughout this process.
This documentation will form the basis of a report you can present to management to
summarise and clarify your findings.
Management can then sign off on the report as a true and accurate description of the business
needs.

Understand Your Organization


It is important that you know the structure of your organization because this information can
influence how you deploy, use, and support Configuration Manager. It is also useful to know
your organizations long-term plans. Changes such as mergers and acquisitions can have a
significant effect on IT infrastructure. External factors that require changes and internal
projects (either planned or in progress) can affect how you design and deploy Configuration
Manager.
Use the following guidelines to help you collect data about your organization.

Considerations

Details

Departmental organization

Include the following information:

IT organization and
administrative policies

Long-term business
direction

High-level organization charts to help determine the


divisional structure of your organization, the design of
your Configuration Manager hierarchy, and your method
of communicating Configuration Manager
implementation updates to different departments

Reporting hierarchy

Communications methods

Service level agreements (SLAs)

Consider the following factors:

The structure and technical level of local and remote IT


divisions, their reporting hierarchies, and local and
global IT administrative policies

Organizational structure

Reporting hierarchy

Local administrative policies and SLAs

Global IT administrative policies and SLAs

Any major business changes planned for the future, such as


mergers, acquisitions, major physical move