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Assessing Your Network Infrastructure

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Assess your network infrastructure by identifying existing network protocols, network bandwidth, and network hardware, such as routers, switches, and firewalls. Be sure to assess topology, network size, type of network, and traffic patterns, in addition to the logical organization of your network, name-resolution and address-resolution methods, naming conventions, and network services in use. You must also include the location of network sites and the available bandwidth between sites: This information can help you choose an installation method.

After you have identified the primary features of your network, you can start documenting your network infrastructure. You can use Windows Server 2003 diagnostic applications, such as Network Monitor, to gather information about your network. Or, you can use troubleshooting and configuration software offered by OEMs or software vendors. Then, create physical and logical network diagrams using a product such as Microsoft® Visio® drawing and diagramming software.

The physical and logical network diagrams 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.

  • Physical network infrastructure.

  • Addressing infrastructure.

  • Naming infrastructure.

  • Authentication infrastructure.

  • Security infrastructure.

  • Intranet infrastructure.

  • Management infrastructure.

The logical network diagram should also include the following information:

  • Domain architecture

  • Server roles

  • Trust relationships and any policy restrictions that might affect your deployment

In addition, you need to indicate where your Windows environment is connected to other networking environments, such as UNIX or Novell NetWare. Identify the tools that you use to maintain this connectivity, and determine whether they are supported under Windows Server 2003.

Finally, be sure to address network security measures in your assessment of the network. Include information about how you manage client authentication, user and group access to resources, and Internet security. Also include your firewall and proxy configurations.

For detailed information about planning your network infrastructure, see the related chapters in Deploying Network Services of this kit.

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