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Diary of a Network Administrator: Planning for Success

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Success is not an accident. Real success comes through ambition, planning, and action. How are your project's plans? Do you have project plans? In this diary entry, Joseph Phillips details his planning process for his client's network, servers, and rats.
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My clients, the ones with rats, tangled network cables, and five Windows NT 4.0 domains, are not very happy. They've huffed and puffed their way up and over the learning curve, and they don't like what they've learned. They've found themselves not exactly somewhere over the rainbow.

In case you're new to this series of articles, here's a recap of the adventure and their problems:

  • Network troubles. The physical network is a disaster. The network cables were mysteriously spliced and joined together every 10 feet or so. Cables were draped across fluorescent lights, wrapped around conduits, dragged over Jimmy Hoffa, and then plopped out of the drop ceiling directly into the NICs. Nice. Yeah, real nice.

  • Network design. There are roughly 100 users on the network, but there are five servers—each serving as a PDC of its own domain. Not a good solution. The Exchange Server is in a different domain from where users are logging on. As added trouble, their mail server is forwarding porno spam. (Naughty server!)

  • Data backup. Only one server was being backed up. Unfortunately, this server had a very small amount of data on it. All the other servers had gigs of data waiting to vanish with one grumpy delete key. (Did I mention that the Everyone group had Full Control to everything?)

  • Pet rat. They have a rat on the loose. Yeah, a real rat. (No Mac user jokes here, I promise.)

  • More sighs. There's more to this story than what I'm sharing now. My therapist has warned me not to talk about it too much, so you can read the first article here.

Don't Kill the Messenger

Anyway, my clients are not happy. With me? Well, don't kill the messenger. Actually, they're not upset with me, just the news I bring. They're not thrilled with their original "vendor." They're not thrilled knowing that they've been… now how should I put it, er, scammed? Conned? Flimflammed? Bamboozled?

And they're not thrilled with the imminent expense of revamping their network from the ground up. They already had plans to lease new servers and workstations, but had not counted on the expense of the network cabling, patch panels, autoloader tape drives, and network switch. Surprise, surprise: They weren't following or documenting their licensing agreements. (I know you have licenses for all of your applications, each with its own serial number and installed according its respective EULA. You also have Client Access Licenses and are paid up on all your shareware, right? Good; I thought so.)

While we're playing accountant, let's not forget the expense of time. Labor is not cheap. Okay…skilled, knowledgeable labor is not cheap. You can pay for things to be done right the first time or you can pay even more to correct problems down the road. This was not going to be an inexpensive easy project. If only my new clients had researched their original vendor at the onset, they'd be in better shape now.

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