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Network Designs Utilizing Linux

Advantages of Linux
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Linux/UNIX Consulting


Farious Net Solutions designs and implements computer networks following a core set of philosophical beliefs and design tenets. A brief list of these issues and why you should be concerned with them is listed below:

  1. Fortress Mentality - Your file server, the most valuable piece of equipment on your network, should be unbreakable and should never, ever fail under any circumstance. All of your valuable data - the reason you own computers and a network in the first place - resides on that machine. To this end, Farious Net Solutions strives to install only high-quality computer systems running the extremly reliable Linux operating system as servers. Attempting to save money by utilizing a peer-to-peer network or an unreliable operating system will almost surely lead to data loss.
  2. Separation of Functionality - As much as possible, different classes of functionality should be separated into different devices or computers, preferably from different manufacturers. This ensures that no single device failure can take down the entire functionality of your network or that a flaw in a single vendor's system can be exploited to gain access to your entire network. This means in the real world that the file server, print server, hub or switch, and Internet connection device (be it a modem router, DSL modem or cable modem) should all be separate pieces of equipment.
  3. Plan for Catastrophe - Make (Automatic) Backups - Farious Net Solutions has found time and time again that customers neglect to back up their systems. This can usually be attributed to forgetfullness or a lack of time and really isn't an indication of anything more than your business not being a computer-related one. As a result, however, your valuable data is at the mercy of a fire, flood, electrical surge or other catastrophic event. Automatic, off-site backups are a necessity if you are to have any trust in the longevity and safety of your data. Farious Net Solutions always seeks to get our customers to utilize our off-site backup services to ensure that their systems are always protected from catastrophe.
  4. Quality Doesn't Cost, It Pays - Buying the highest-quality computers and computer components will cost a small percentage more (typically 10% to 50%) during the initial purchase phase of your computer network investment, but their reliability will more than make up for any cost differences down the road. Considering a three-year depreciation schedule (typical for computer equipment), and FNS's current consulting rates, there needs to be only 1 hour and 20 minutes of billed service time per year on a cheap $1,000 piece of equipment during its usable life time in order for it to cost more than its "expensive" (high-quality) $1,500 equivalent.
  5. High Speed Internet Access Is A Requirement, Not an Optional Add-on - Without high-speed, always-on Internet access, many management functions normally available in Linux or other server operating systems are not available. System updates are problematic and failure-prone and monitoring messages may fail to reach their destination. Client computers will experience long delays when attempting to do Internet-related activities such as surfing the web and checking emails. High speed Internet access must be considered a first-order priority in order make sure that your systems are up-to-date and protected from all recent threats.
  6. Auditing and Monitoring is Critical to System Stability - Farious Net Solutions can only act on information that it knows about. To this end, all of our Linux systems are configured to email nightly status reports to our network operations center where they are analyzed by an engineer every morning. We tailor our logging to the particular network and can check such things as file accesses, system uptime, power failures, authentication failures and file backups. This logging allows us to stay ahead of potential problems and fix broken networks quickly.

Following the above philosophical beliefs and design tenets, there is really only one network design that Farious Net Solutions installs. This is shown below. Please note that this is a functional diagram, not a concrete diagram such as the wiring diagrams shown on the sample wiring designs page.