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1. Basic Principals
2. Change Control
3. Server Environments
4. Network and Wiring
5. Network Security
6. Software Purchases
7. Documenting IT

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Information Technology Digest:
Stable Computer Environments
by Wolfgang Blauen, CISSP
4. Network and Wiring (continued)

That’s a lot to think about, even only related to the wiring. And there is more. For example, we only looked at a “standard” network. But what if you introduce high performance technologies like Gigabit Ethernet (1,000Mbit/s) or Fiber Optic cable. You’ll need better quality cabling with much more restrictive mechanical requirements (specifically when you use fiber technology). In some cases, however, you may have to bite the bullet on the additional headaches. If you have to use these network technologies you should seek the help of professionals rather then attempting to set them up yourself. In any case you’ll be well advised to pull some extra cable and leave it in the wall unused. That’s much cheaper in the long run because fiber cable will break! It’s just a question of when.

On the server side, because you’d typically co-locate the patch panel, the network equipment and the servers, you should not need to deploy Fiber cables. It will be ok to utilize copper-based Gigabit Ethernet connections to increase the power of your server on the network due to the limited cable lengths. The IT industry uses the term “throughput” for this measure of power. What happens is that if you have a server that is accessed by multiple users, the server tries to send and receive data to and from these users’ workstations simultaneously. The compounded traffic maxes out the server’s ability to transport data to the network. You can boost the server’s ability to send and receive data by increasing the network connection speed. This is typically not a valuable investment for machines that don’t have enough power to sustain this high transfer rate, though. And it only works if the network equipment supports the higher transfer speed.

Networking is not a trivial factor in the solid operation of your computer environment but continues to be underestimated. Keep in mind: The fastest computer doesn’t perform well over a faulty, distorted cabling system.

(read on ...) 

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