Check Existing Infrastructure (Chapter 2, Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices)

Hi – my name is Harry Brelsford and I am the CEO of SMB Nation. I am the author of the infamous purple book for SBS 2003. You can learn about me at and I encourage u to watch this site daily as I opst up the entire book over the next few months. Hey -when you own the copyright…you can do what you want!

Read on!

Check Existing Infrastructure

Assuming a network diagram has been created, you need to gather a little more information for SBS planning purposes. Take a tour of your existing physical site and make notes regarding the following items: cabling, hubs, and wall jacks. Table 2-1 shows the existing infrastructure information for SPRINGERS.

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Table 2-1: Existing Infrastructure





Need to implement Category 5/6 10/100BASE-T, Ethernet-typecabling at site. Existing coaxial cabling will not work.


Will purchase and install dual-speed hubs.

Wall jacks

Each office will have one wall jack plus extra wall jacks inhallway.



In the case of SPRINGERS, you will note in Figure 2-3 that the existing cabling media is coaxial, which is considered inferior to the more modern Category 5, 10/100BASE-T, Ethernet-type cabling (5/6). Because SPRINGERS intends to replace the cabling, it is so noted on the proposed network layout (see Figure 2­

4) later in the chapter.


A hub is a central gathering point for network cabling. Many people today who are using the Category 5 cabling described previously are opting for high-speed 10/100 hubs to replace older, slower hubs. Thus, when designing your SBS network, consider the more expensive, faster, dual-speed 10/100 hubs over the 10Mbps hubs. With an eye on the future and getting the best long-term value from your SBS network, you will be glad that you did.

BEST PRACTICE: Why the dual-speed hub? Some older machines on a network, such as older laptops that use a parallel port-based network adapter, might not be able to run at 100Mbps (the new, higher network speed). If such is the case, you might need a dual-speed hub that supports both the older 10Mbps and the newer 100Mbps speeds.

Wall Jacks

It is common when planning an SBS project to discover that you will need to increase the number of wall jacks at your site. This typically occurs for two reasons. The first is that additional networked workstations will be added as

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part of the SBS implementation. This is very common. More often than not, when a new network is installed, so are additional workstations. These additional workstations typically are purchased for new hires, suggesting company growth is a driving factor in implementing a new SBS network. Or, the additional workstations might be for existing employees—formerly reluctant players— now stepping up to the table to join the networked world.

Here is what I mean. At a property management firm I serve, the commissioned-based real estate agents must contribute financially to join the SBS network. That is, they have to buy a node on the network. Prior to introducing SBS, the old network was based on a NetWare server, something that didn’t thrill many of the agents. Thus, several agents went without network connectivity in the past. Enter SBS, and these do-withouts became more excited about networking, especially with SBS’s Internet connectivity. Thus, existing standalone computers were added to the network when the SBS network was up and running.

Another cause for ordering additional wall jacks is the pervasive use of network-

connected printers. A popular setup is the Hewlett Packard (HP) laser printers connected directly to the network with a JetDirect card. These network printers are typically connected directly to the network using one of the wall jacks. Many firms use the SBS network project as an opportunity to upgrade their existing printers or add more printers, so it is very common when planning an SBS network to order additional network wall jacks.

BEST PRACTICE: Attaching printers to the network in no way affects your user count with respect to SBS licensing. Some of you from the old NetWare days might recall that network devices, such as printers and Shiva LanRover modems, could and would consume one or more of your network logon licenses. Such is not the case with SBS. You can have as many network printers as you’d like.

Assuming you’re going wired, it’s a given that you probably need to order wall jacks for your SBS network, so be sure to over-engineer the number of wall jacks ordered. I like to order up to 25 percent more wall jacks than I anticipate needing. These extra wall jacks are typically placed in the conference room

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where training occurs or temporary employees work. In my book, you can never have enough wall jacks. Plus it is cheaper to install them all at once rather than have the cabling specialist make return visits.

List of SBS Stakeholders

Another important SBS planning item is to create your list of SBS stakeholders. Stakeholders include yourself, any consultants, service providers, and so on who have a role on the SBS project. And because everyone today has multiple telephone numbers (work, work-private, work-fax, home, cellular, pager, and so on), I highly recommend that you add each stakeholder’s telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to your SBS stakeholders list.


Table 2-2: SBS Stakeholders




Contact Information

Tom Jagger

SBS Consultant

SBS Staffing, Inc.123 Main Street Redmond, WA 98000 W: 425-555-1212 Fax: 425-123-1234 Home: 206-222-2222 Cellular: 206-333-3333 Pager: 206-123-0987Ski Condo: 503-200-1999

Jane Unionski

Cabling Specialist

Unionski CablingBox 3333 Unionski, WA 98111 W: 222-333-4455 Cellular: 222-444-3344 Pager:

Bob Easter


Springer Spaniels Limited3456 Beach Front Road Bainbridge Island, WA 98110W: 206-123-1234 Fax: 206-123-1235 Home: 206-111-1234

Roni Vipauli

Lender, SBS

Small Business Savings123 Small Business Blvd. Small Town, WA 99882 W: 425-111-8888 Fax: 425-SBS-LEND

Ted Rockwell

Sales Associate

Overnight WarehousePO Box 8855 Acorn, WA 98234 1-800-111-0000, ext. 334


BEST PRACTICE: The users contained in Table 2-2 will be amongst the first names entered into the company contact list in Microsoft Outlook 2003.

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User List

Next in the general planning process under the SPRINGERS methodology would be creating a user list for your SBS network, those people you intend to allow to use the SBS network. It’s not as easy as it sounds.  First, you have to typically think through who needs SBS network access, as not all users do. Once it is decided who will be allowed on the network, you need to take extra care to spell each user’s name correctly on the network and have an initial password to use. Each user’s name at SPRINGERS (10 users) is shown below. These names will be entered into the SBS network in Chapter 4.

First: Norm Last: Hasborn User Name: NormH Password: Purple3300E-mail alias: NormH User Template: Power User Computer Name: PRESIDENT

First: Bob Last: Bountiful User Name: BobB Password: Bish4fish E-mail alias: BobB User Template: User Computer Name: BREED01



First: Last:


User Name: Password:


E-mail alias: User Template: Computer Name:

BarryMUser ACCT01



Last: User Name:




E-mail alias:


User Template: Computer Name:

User FRONT01



Last: User Name:




E-mail alias:


User Template: Computer Name:



First: Tom Last: Benkert User Name: TomB Password: Whitesnow101 E-mail alias: TomB User Template: User Computer Name: SCHEDULE01

First: Norm Last: Hasborn Jr. User Name: NormJR Password: Yellowsnow55 E-mail alias: NormJR User Template: User Computer Name: SALES01

First: David Last: Halberson User Name: DaveH Password: Grenadine2002 E-mail alias: DaveH User Template: User Computer Name: MARKET01

First: Elvis Last: Haskins User Name: ElvisH Password: Platinium101 E-mail alias: Elvis User Template: User Computer Name: GENE01

First: Bob Last: Easter User Name: BobE Password: dogcatcher1E-mail alias: BobE User Template: Power User Computer Name: CAREFEED01

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Not surprisingly, small organizations have many of the same computer network security needs as larger enterprises. The owner of a small business typically has confidential information that should not be widely distributed.

Security is a recurring theme in this book as different SBS components are discussed, such as Microsoft SQL Server and ISA Server. But for your initial SBS planning purposes, the first security issue to address is membership in the Administrators group. Administrators are the functional equivalent of Admins and Supervisors in NetWare or the super user account in a UNIX environment. Thus, it behooves you to select carefully who should have “full control” as an administrator over your SBS network. Typically, this membership group is limited to the organization’s leader (owner, CEO, President), the day-to-day SBS administrator, and perhaps the SBS consultant you’ve retained.


Project Schedule

The next step is to create an SBS project schedule. Because of the nature of SBS projects—working with small organizations—it is not necessary to use Microsoft Project to create complex Gantt/Pert/CPM charts. These high-end project-scheduling applications are better left for putting pipelines across Alaska.

However, I do recommend that you create a simple calendar-based schedule for your SBS project. Microsoft Outlook has a calendar that works fine. The project schedule for SPRINGERS is shown in Figure 2-3.

Figure 2-3

SBS project schedule for SPRINGERS.

Addressing Hardware, Software, and Services List and Budget Needs

You must now create the hardware, software, and services lists for your SBS network as the next planning step in the SPRINGERS methodology. The list shown Table 2-3 is the desired outcome. Regarding the hardware area, a new server and new hub are being purchased by SPRINGERS. With respect to software, SBS, sufficient user licenses, and additional software are being

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purchased by SPRINGERS. Several types of services will be required, including additional telephone lines for the new Internet connection and new wiring, because a new star topology based on the Ethernet standard has been selected. A star topology occurs when each workstation and the server is connected to the hub in a “spoke and hub” configuration similar to a bicycle tire. You will also see that, by adding an additional column in Table 2-3 for costs, the list not only serves as your purchase specifications, but also your budget. Note that I describe hardware, software, services, and budgets in much more detail later in the chapter.

Table 2-3: Hardware, Software, and Services List for SPRINGERS






HP/Compaq ML-350 Server for SMB/SBS,tape backup unit, 1 GB RAM, 60GB HD, HPLaser Printer (HP 5M), UPS backup power.



SBS, Add’l Software (third-party tapebackup, antivirus client/server suite,software).



SBS Consultant, wiring with wall jacks,telephone line hookup, Internet service.



Proposed Network Layout

The next step is to create a drawing of the proposed network. The proposed network for SPRINGERS, shown in Figure 2-4, graphically depicts many of the items discussed previously in the section “Addressing Hardware, Software, and Services List and Budget Needs.” The old NetWare server will be “retired.”


Figure 2-4

Proposed SBS network for SPRINGERS.

Final Planning Activities

Three items remain as part of the SBS planning process: ordering, walk-through, and documentation.


A “critical path” item in your SBS project is the need to order your hardware, software, and services. Why? Under even the best of conditions, it can take 10 or more business days to receive your new server machine. Services such as scheduling your SBS consultant and ordering additional telephone lines can take even longer (especially when the telephone company is involved).

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BEST PRACTICE: If you use an SBS consultant, consider having her attend the calls placed when you are ordering (“you” being the business person in this case). Typically I sit in a conference room with my SBS customer on “order day.” The vendors are placed on the speakerphone, allowing for all parties to speak up and clarify anything. I’ve found that, by clarifying purchase specifications on order day, I save the client significantly more than my hourly consulting fees. Consider it another win for my SBS customer.


Now that you are near the end of the planning phase, I highly recommend that you once again walk the floors of the site that will house the new SBS network. By taking a fresh look at the site where the SBS network will be installed, you might notice a few things you initially missed. Items that have caught my eye on this final walk-through include:


          Server placement: Where will the actual server reside? Is it near power


outlets? Have you coordinated the extra telephone lines, some of which are used by SBS, to terminate at or near the SBS server machine?

                      Workstation accessibility: Can you easily reach each workstation on the network? Is there enough room between the desks and walls to allow the cabling specialist to install wall jacks?

                      Building access: Do your service providers have access codes and keys to perform after-hours work on the SBS project? Believe me, you can count on some unexpected late-evening visits from members of the SBS team!



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