Network Infrastructure

Network Infrastructure

Assess your network infrastructure by identifying existing network protocols, network bandwidth, and the network hardware. Table 1.5 describes how these issues affect your deployment plan.

Table 1.5 Basic Attributes for Assessing Your Network Infrastructure

Attribute Effect on Project Plan

Network protocols

Network protocols determine how you customize several of the networking sections of answer files, such as [NetAdapter], [NetProtocols], and [NetServices]. For more information about creating and customizing answer files, see "Automating and Customizing Installations" in this book.

Network bandwidth

Network bandwidth affects which method of installation to use. For example, in low-bandwidth networks or on computers that are not part of a network, you might need to use a local installation method. For high-bandwidth network connections, you might choose to install Windows XP Professional by using a remote-boot CD ROM or a network-based disk image.

Network servers

The servers you have in your network affect the installation tools available to you. If you have an existing Microsoft® Windows® 2003 Server infrastructure in place, you can use a wider range of tools to automate and customize client installations, including Remote Installation Services (RIS).

Next, collect information about both the hardware and software in your network infrastructure. This should include the logical organization of your network, name- and address-resolution methods, naming conventions, and network services in use. Documenting the location of network sites and the available bandwidth between them can help you decide which installation method to use.

Document the structure of your network, including server operating systems, file and print servers, directory services, domain and tree structures, server protocols, and file structure. You should also include information about network administration procedures, including backup and recovery strategies, antivirus measures, and data storage and access policies. If you use multiple server operating systems, note how you manage security and users' access to resources.

Network security measures should also be included in your assessment of the network. Include information about how you manage client authentication, user and group access to resources, and Internet security. Document firewall and proxy configurations.

Create physical and logical diagrams of your network to organize the information you gather. The physical network diagram should include the following information:

  • Physical communication links, including cables, and the paths of analog and digital lines.
  • Server names, IP addresses, and domain membership.
  • Location of printers, hubs, switches, routers, bridges, proxy servers, and other network devices.
  • Wide area network (WAN) communication links, their speed, and available bandwidth between sites. If you have slow or heavily used connections, it is important to note them.

The logical network diagram can include the following information:

  • Domain architecture.
  • Server roles, including primary and backup domain controllers, and WINS and DNS servers.
  • Trust relationships and any policy restrictions that might affect your deployment.