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CET2176C - Server+ Review Questions for Lectures 1 - 5

Review Questions for Lecture #1
  1. Define server:

    Provide clients access to its shared resource(s) and/or network service(s) over the network connection.

  2. List and define the four basic categories of server:

    Local Hardware Share: the server shares one or more locally installed pieces of hardware including but certainly not limited to the hard drive(s), printer(s), scanner(s), etc.

    Local Data Share: the server shares information stored on it with the clients. A software or data share would allow multiple users to access the same database file and even allow any one user to modify the record that they are accessing while preventing others from accessing it at that time. An example of this is an SQL server.

    Communication Share: the server shares its ability to communicate with some other form of network with the machines that are attached to it by another communication method. For example, local area network connected clients that can access the Internet through the server's DSL connection.

    Service Provider: the server provides a specific service to the network which can include: user management, traffic monitoring, etc.

  3. List and define the seven most common representatives of the basic categories of server:

    Storage server: the sharing of its permanent high capacity storage capabilities. This is one of the "Local Hardware Share" types of server. The modern PC implementation is called the file server.

    Print Server: servers sharing their printer(s) with some or all of the clients on the network. The modern PC implementation is called the print server. This another one of the "Local Hardware Share" types of server. Since these types of server both share locally installed hardware components and have been so common in networks they are often bundled into the single entity called a file and print server.

    Communication Services: Communications servers provide their connection and therefore access to other communication networks to their clients. A common modern communication server is the one that can be dialed by an employees modem equipped client machine from anywhere and begin accessing the local area network resources. This is called a remote access server or dial-up server and it bridges the LAN with the Public Switched Telephone Network.

    Mail Services: The mail server provides the centralized point for clients to access it directly in order to create and send email messages as well as to retrieve such messages sent by others to them.

    Internet Services: Although this is also technically a "communication share" type of server, the Internet is a special and unique kind of network amongst all other networks in that it is "an infinitely scalable, internetwork of networks" (hence the name). Because it is a unique entity amongst all other networks, servers that provide the Internet and its technologies to clients are also a unique class of servers. One such server is the one machine that is actually attached to the Internet and browses it on behalf of the requests made to it by clients behind it on the LAN, such a server is called a proxy server.

    Management Services: Management servers solve the problems created by a network including but not limited to: handling traffic (scope and scale of the network), handling security (who has the right to share any given resource(s) and who does not have that right), overcoming architectural boundaries (certain areas must implement different hardware and related protocols which form a barrier which must be overcome and managed) to name a few. In the modern Client/Server paradigm, the server that verifies a user's identity by checking the user's password and then issues that users rights to access the various resources on the network is called the authentication server.

    Application Server: Technically these are also "Data Share" types of servers. Application servers allow users to execute applications on the server rather than have the application installed on the local client machine. This offloads the majority of the storage requirements of large applications to a central location where it can be installed once rather than over and over on each client and allows for some or all of the application to actually run on the server rather than the workstation, offloading the RAM and processing requirements to the server as well. The modern implementation in which the application resides on and executes entirely in the server's hard drives and RAM is called the terminal server.

  4. List and define the four basic network paradigms and how they influence the number of servers and nodes required to create the server(s) on them:

    Peer-to-Peer: In this kind of network, each machine functions both as a client and as a server. Each machine can both share its resources and make them accessible to any or all of the others and can access the shared resources of the others. In such a network a "true" server is neither needed nor desired.

    Client/Server: In this kind of network, most of the machines are intended to be clients that will access the shared resources of one or more machines that will be designed and implemented specifically for the sole purpose of sharing their resources with the other machines. In such a network at least one machine must be a server providing its shared resources to the others.

    Centralized Processing: The original IBM mainframes were the centralized processors to which potentially hundreds even thousands of "dumb terminals" were directly attached. These dumb terminals had no computing power of their own and were no more than a monitor/keyboard pair wired all the way back to the mainframe itself. All actual processing occurred on the mainframe and it could support hundreds even thousands of users simultaneously running their individual programs and displaying their results on their individual screens. The modern implementation of such a system in which the client machine actually runs an application on the server and the client software only carries keystrokes to the server and returns screen updates to the client from its own personal "virtual desktop" running on the server is called a terminal server.

    Distributed Centralized Processing: In this type of network, there is no actual single physical machine to which one can point and say "that is the server." Nevertheless there is a server in this network. Instead of being a single physical machine, it is a virtual server in which more than one machine is running the special software it requires and they, acting together, manifest this entity on the network. There are several variations of this basic concept. Microsoft has an implementation in which two or more dedicated machines become a single physical entity on the network called the cluster server.

  5. List and define the six network scopes and scalability levels and how they influence the number and capabilities of the server(s):

    Scopes of networks that influence types and numbers of servers:

    Single segment small "Collision Domain" LAN: In this kind of network, there is one low population LAN segment. These are often called a SOHO - Small Office/Home Office type of network. In such networks where all machines are using a single hardware/protocol form of networking, and there are low and usually fixed numbers of clients, it is often possible to provide all essential server services from a single server. This server would then be fulfilling the role of the "."

    Multiple segment "Collision Domain" LAN: In this kind of network, there are more than one populated LAN segments. These medium sized networks often have too many clients for a primary standalone server to handle efficiently. In such networks it may be necessary to divide the primary services amongst multiple servers and it may be wise to isolate high traffic groups of clients to reduce the traffic burdens that have to cross from one segment to another.

    Large Multiple Collision Domain LAN: In this kind of network, there are two or more complete and independent Ethernet LAN's forming one large LAN. Because Ethernet collision domains have a maximum diameter, for large LAN's it may be necessary to divide the Ethernet collision domain into multiple collision domains and then provide some other network technology to bridge them together. While this is begin done it might also be necessary to isolate sections of the network from other sections. While dedicated internetworking devices do exist to facilitate the implementation of such a network, a LAN featuring fully physically isolated regions will almost certainly need primary services to be provided by one or more servers on each component network.

    Scalability factors of networks that influence types and numbers of servers:

    No Scalability: In this kind of network, the potential for large-scale growth is for the most part ignored. As such the scalability of the network plays no part in the design and implementation of the servers.

    Limited Scalability: In this kind of network, the potential for large-scale growth is for the most part ignored. However, modest growth is anticipated and as such may affect the number of servers and their performance capabilities.

    High Scalability: In this kind of network, the potential for large-scale growth is planned for from the beginning. As such the scalability of the network plays a large part in the number of as well as the design and implementation of the server framework(s).

  6. List and describe the four economic influences on the number and capabilities of the server(s):

    Limited Resources: The organization cannot expend the proper amount of money, and manpower needed to implement their needs. Because of this network design and server design will have to make hard choices on what corners to cut and still be reasonably functional and reliable.

    Limited Initial Resources: The organization cannot expend the proper amount of money, and manpower needed to implement their needs. But they anticipate ample resources to allocate toward subsequent maintenance of the project.

    Limited Subsequent Resources: The organization can expend the proper amount of money, time, and manpower needed to implement their needs. But anticipates limited ability to provide funds and manpower to the subsequent support of the project.

    Unlimited Resources: The organization can expend the proper amount of money, and manpower needed to implement and provide subsequent support of their needs and see this as an essential and profitable expenditure if done wisely. Because of this network design and server design will have to make highly efficient choices so that undue and unjustified expenses will be minimized.

  7. List and describe the six levels of availability that can influence the design and implementation of the server(s):

    Availability Level: "Same Day" Repair: Such systems have no true availability rating or an availability rating of 0 which means that the system can go down and should be repaired in the same day. Example - The receptionist's PC whose primary job is to answer phones.

    Availability Level: "Priority" Repair: Such systems have no true availability rating or an availability rating of 0.5 which means that they can go down, but must be repaired and up and running again quickly. Example - The PC of the receptionist whose job is to schedule appointments. Without the system she would need a printout of the current schedule and have to find open dates/times by hand and write them in by hand until the system is working again if this could be done at all (depending on the number of clients and providers, say doctors, she must work with.)

    Availability Level: "ASAP" Repair: Such systems have no true availability rating or an availability rating of 0.99 which means that they can go down, but must be repaired and up and running again ASAP - As Soon As Possible. Example - Graphic designer. All of this employee's productivity is realized in the graphics she creates on the system.

    Availability Level: "Available": Such systems have a true availability rating or an availability rating of 99% which means that such systems can not go down. However, this is the lowest rating meaning that the level of investment in the system will be minimal at best. Example - low-end server. Productivity of all of this server's attached employee's will be reduced but not come to a complete halt if the server goes down.

    Availability Level: "High Availability": Such systems have a true availability rating or an availability rating of 99.9% which means that such systems can not go down. This is an intermediate availability rating that expects the system to be fairly robust and resistant to failure under adverse conditions. Example - high-end server. Productivity of some or all of this server's attached employee's will come to a complete halt if the server goes down.

    Availability Level: "Mission Critical": Such systems have a true availability rating or an availability rating of 99.99% which means that such systems can not go down. This is the highest availability rating and expects the system to be extremely robust and resistant to failure under adverse conditions. Example - high-end server. Productivity of some or all of this server's attached employee's will come to a complete halt if the server goes down.

  8. List and describe the four levels of server based on their levels of availability that can influence the design and implementation of the server(s):

    Non-critical mission: Such a server will have no special hardware or software provisions for keeping it up and running at all times. In fact it may not even have to run at all times, only at certain times while it performs its tasks. A storage server holding archives that employees can retrieve only on rare occasions when they need such information is an example of a non-critical mission server. These servers have availability ratings of 0 to 0.99

    Essential mission: Such a server provides essential services to the network and must function most or all of the time, but does not hold valuable information. As such it is quickly and easily restored or replaced in the event of a failure. At the discretion of the organization special hardware or software considerations may not be made for such a server. A DHCP server is an example of an essential mission server. It needs to be running but it can be replaced quickly by any server that can perform this function. These servers have availability ratings of 0, 0.5, 0.99 (unavailable), or 99% (available) depending on the economical impact of their failure.

    High-Availability mission: Such a server provides essential services to the network and must function all of the time, and it does hold valuable information. As such the organization will consider investing in special hardware and/or software considerations for it so that it will be reliable and remain operational. A web server for an ecommerce business is an example of a high-availability mission server that needs to stay up and running at all times. These servers have availability ratings of 99.9

    Mission Critical: This is the highest classification of importance in the role of the server. The mission critical server can never go down, which is an impossibility. Therefore every effort and expense is paid to the server to ensure its "very high-availability" rating of 99.99% even under the most adverse and extreme conditions. Government agencies like FEMA would require very high-availability mission critical servers, although many large companies spend the same money and effort to keep their mission critical systems operational as well.

  9. List and describe two public access special services:

    Public Access Segment: In this kind of network, there exists at least one or often an entire segment of client machines intended for public visitors to use. The network also has one or more machines and services which are not open to the public. An example would be a public library providing workstations that the public visitors can use to search the book collection. Such a network will need additional services in the area of authentication and separation of the public access domain segment of the network from the private domain segment(s).

    Public/Remote Access Domain: In this kind of network, there exists at least one service open for access through the existing public domain network(s) including the PSTN - public Switched Telephone Network and the Internet. Such a network will have to set up special provisions to ensure that the remote access clients are properly authenticated and their access restricted to the intended public and/or private shared resources. There do exist, in some cases, dedicated internetwork connectivity devices that can link the dissimilar systems but, it may be necessary under specific circumstances to link these systems with one or more dedicated servers offering "service provider" as well as "communication share" and be fulfilling the roles of layer 2 gateway and authentication server. If the entity has a web presence (a website) one or more servers will also have to function as a web server and possibly other roles.

  10. List and describe the seven primary factors that determine the number and category of servers on the network:

    Network paradigm: peer-to-peer indicates that no servers are needed, client/server indicates that at least one server is needed, centralized processing indicates that at least one powerful dedicated server (therefore more than one is needed), distributed centralized processing indicates that more than one node is needed to form the single server entity.

    Network Scope and Scalability: Small single segment LAN: may require only one primary standalone server. Medium multiple segment LAN: may require multiple primary member servers. Large multiple "collision domain" LAN: will require at least one primary standalone server per collision domain and possibly a centralized server to coordinate them. No scalability: The scalability of the network is not a concern and therefore has no effect on the size and/or number of servers. Moderate scalability: the network must be capable of easily implementing some limited expansion in scope (either or both physical size and number of nodes), this may require design and implementation considerations with the server(s). Upward scalability: the network must be capable of easily implementing considerable expansion in scope (either or both physical size and number of nodes), this will require design and implementation considerations with the server framework.

    Network Architecture: Homogenous Network: Since all systems use the same interconnectivity technology, such a network exerts no influence on the size and/or number of servers needed. Heterogeneous Network: may require only one primary standalone server, but due to the interconnectivity of unrelated network hardware and protocols may need a communication server. Tiered/Hierarchical Network: most likely will require at least multiple primary standalone servers for each network within it. WAN - Wide Area Network: will require at least one primary standalone server per collision domain and possibly a centralized server to coordinate them.

    Intended Services: Local Hardware Share: may require only one such server, but depending on the scope/architecture of the network could require more. A common local hardware share service is the file and print server. Local Data Share: Again depends on the scope and architecture of the network as well as the number of specific services being offered. Common local data share services include: application servers and database servers Communication Share: Some networks such as a small single segment LAN may not require one at all, while other networks may require many, some offering a single communication share function, other offering many such functions. Common communication servers include: remote access servers which fulfill the role of a layer 2 gateway. Service Providers: Some networks such as a small single segment LAN may be able to incorporate all network services into a single primary standalone server while larger, more complex and scalable networks will have to design and implement a specific strategy for allocating service provider servers. Common service providers for networks include: DHCP - Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server, DNS - Domain Name Services server, and Domain Controller (authentication server). Special Role server: Some networks such as a small single segment LAN may be able to incorporate any intended special role into the primary standalone server while larger, more complex and scalable networks will have to design and implement a specific strategy for allocating special role servers. Common special role servers provide public access segment services and public/remote access services.

    Mission Availability: Non-critical Server: may not be necessary, its functions could be implemented as a secondary role within an existing server. Even if implemented they usually have no special hardware or software considerations. Essential Server: Depends on the importance of the role(s) as to whether special considerations in hardware and software will be invested in this server. High-Availability Server: Because of the nature of its role(s) and data it holds, special considerations as to its hardware and software will be made in order to ensure its high reliability. Mission Critical Server: Due to the importance of the service(s) and data this server holds, every expense will be undertaken to ensure its reliability.

    Role Aggregation: Primary Standalone Server: If practical, all essential roles are combined into a single server. Primary Member Server: When it is impractical to combine all essential roles into a single server, the duties are split into two or more servers working together. Backup Primary Standalone Server: often implemented as part of a high-availability solution, one backup primary standalone server could be implemented on a network that employs multiple primary member servers as an economical effort to keep the network functioning at a reduced capacity even under extraordinary circumstances. The two categories are "active backup primary standalone" or load balancing primary standalone and "passive backup primary standalone" or fail-over primary standalone server. Backup Primary Member Server: often implemented as part of a high-availability solution, backup primary member servers could be implemented on a network that employs multiple primary member servers as an effort to keep the network functioning at full capacity even under extraordinary circumstances. The two categories are "active backup primary member" or load balancing primary backup and "passive backup primary member" or fail-over primary member server. Auxiliary/Support Services Server: The special role server design and implementation will be dictated by many factors including the mission importance, network scope/scalability/architecture, to name a few. Backup Auxiliary/Support Services Server: The backup special role server design and implementation will be dictated mainly by the mission importance of their service(s) and are considered at least a high-availability solution if not mission critical servers.

    Economics: Limited Resources: may include available initial funds, limited time/manpower/man-hours that can be invested on the project, and/or limited subsequent funds and/or manpower that can be invested in the long-range support of the project. Unlimited Initial Resources: The organization may have ample funds and manpower to invest in setting up the project but limited funds and/or manpower to expend on the long-range support of the project. Such a scenario dictates that the project be designed and implemented with this in mind or else the entire project could ultimately fail making the large initial investment a total waste to the organization. Unlimited Subsequent Resources: The organization may have limited initial funds and/or manpower to design and implement the project but will have ample funds and manpower to expend on long-range support of the project. This is an usual case it should be noted. Unlimited Resources: The organization has ample funds and manpower to design and implement the project and ample funds and manpower to expend on long-range support of the project. This scenario is almost as bad as having limited funds and manpower. It is very easy for the IT department of such an organization to over spend funds and invest extensive manpower when far more efficient solutions are possible.

  11. List and describe two additional economic factors that directly influence the design and implementation of the servers based on weighing the cost of one solution vs. an alternative:

    Hardware vs. Software Solutions: Many technologies begin as software solutions or simply put; programs that can perform certain tasks. Because of their popularity, these programs often get embedded into hardware devices in the form of the device running a ROM BIOS chip implementation of the program or network service. More often than not, a hardware level solution will be faster and far more reliable than a software implementation of the same solution. Economics can affect this choice as well, since buying a separate device to do what the server could do increases the overall cost of the project.

    Availability vs. Recoverability Solutions: Especially when faced with limited economic resources, the design and implementation of the server(s) will have to weigh the options of making the servers highly available versus highly recoverable which means should the organization invest more in the server's ability to stay online or should they invest more in the server's enhancements toward disaster prevention and recovery. With unlimited resources and the organizations desire for mission critical servers, the organization would invest sufficient resources into both strategies for all mission critical systems.

  12. Define server role:

    One specific service that servers provide to clients over the network connection.

  13. Define server mission:

    The complete set of roles that the server will provide to the clients and the importance of this set of services to the network.

  14. Describe and contrast load balancing server vs. fail-over server:

    Load balancing server works together with the primary server sharing the work load on the network evenly as much as possible. The fail-over server awaits in idle, taking on no work load from the primary server until that server fails, it then takes over all work load activities functions and duties until the primary recovers. Load balancing servers can offer superior network performance and a better return on the investment. Fail-over servers are more reliable when they are called upon because they have not been up and running at any capacity until they come on line. Fail-over servers represent a higher degree of availability.

  15. Define server framework:

    The collection of servers each fulfilling separate yet essential roles and their physical and logical relationships with each other and their attachment to the rest of the network.

  16. List and describe the two types of server framework:

    Logical server frameworks and physical server frameworks. The logical server framework is also known as the network infrastructure; that is, how are the servers organized and how to do they cooperatively share their duties and roles on the network. A logical server framework or infrastructure can exist in any network with more than one server regardless of whether or not any special physical server framework is in place. A physical server framework implies that there are special server node-to-server node connectivity implementations in place. Generally speaking, when there is a physical server framework, there is also a logical server framework in place.
  17. List and describe the primary factors that influence the design and implementation of the server framework:

    Server Node Interoperability: Servers fulfilling various and specific roles should be fully compatible and fully aware of each other and the roles that they are responsible for.

    Server Node Authority: Amid the servers, the authority hierarchy and logical infrastructural relationship between them should be clearly defined and well designed and implemented.

    Server Node Administration and Maintenance: The assignments and responsibilities of all employees concerning the administration and maintenance of the servers should be clearly defined and well managed.

    Server Node Interconnectivity and Communications: Amid the servers within a server framework it should be noted that server node-to-server node communications differs from server node-to-client node communications both in content and priority. In certain situations it may be not only wise but necessary to isolate this traffic.

    Physical and Logical Network Segmentation: In designing the server framework attention should be paid to the physical segmentation of the network and the responsibilities of the servers for these segments which relates to their locations and connections to each other, the rest of the server framework and their clients. Similar design considerations affect the server framework concerning logical segmentation of client populations (by type, numbers, etc. of clients.)

    Mission Availability: Is a primary consideration in the design and implementation of the server framework. The physical locations and interconnectivity between server nodes will affect the overall availability and reliability of essential services throughout the network.

    Security and Network Management: One of the primary factors affecting modern networks is network security, it will influence the location, design and implementation of the servers, their roles, and what role(s) they will play in the management of the network as a whole.

    Economics: Initial and subsequent resource allocation will certainly affect the overall design and functionality of the server framework just as it affects the design and implementation of the individual servers themselves.

Review Questions for Lecture #2
  1. List and describe the general phases of an IT project:

    Proposal Phase - This is where the idea for the new project is first proposed. All targets for the project are laid out forming a general specification of what the project should accomplish; a wish list.

    Planning Phase - This is where the specific details of the project are developed that will meet or beat the target criteria.

    Prototype Phase - This is where the specifics are assembled into the first working system to test if it can meet the minimum target criteria; "proof of concept"

    Pilot Phase - This is where the first prototype(s) are placed into limited and controller operation to ensure that they will meet minimum target criteria while in operation. Production Phase - This is where the positive results of the Pilot Phase are implemented into widespread active service for the organization. Systems are brought online and made fully operational.

    Evaluation Phase - This is where all Production Phase troubleshooting takes place. Any recommendations from users are collected and considered for implementation.

    Modification/Correction Phase - All feedback generated in the evaluation phase are collected and formulated into a modification and/or corrections that are needed. At this point these modifications and corrections are implemented.

    Maintenance Phase - As the longterm subsequent support phase of the project begins an ongoing cycle of evaluation and modification phases will continue until the project achieves at the very least a satisfactory level of functionality and performance. As this is reached, the longterm project maintenance phase settles into its routine of regular maintenance procedures accompanied by periodic evaluations which will include an evaluation of the serviceability of the project always looking toward the possibility of its upgrade and ultimate replacement by the next future project.

  2. List and describe briefly the six general steps of a server planning phase:

    Number Of Servers: Decide on the number of and types of server that will be implemented.

    Server Framework: Decide on the specific logical and physical server framework that will be implemented.

    Server Environment: Establish a minimum acceptable suitable location for the server(s).

    Establish the Server Operating System

    Select suitable Server Hardware

    Final Planning Stage:Specific role functions, OS compatibility, hardware compatibility, overall hardware/OS/software/driver compatibility, server node-to-server node and server node-to-client node compatibility and interoperability should all be researched and verified.

  3. List and describe the factors involved in planning for the server's environment:

    Security: Computers that are physically accessible to anyone are by definition completely unsecured. Any information that hold can be taken by anyone who can gain physical access to them.

    Environmental Conditions: The server's physical environmental conditions should be kept under control at all times.

    Site Ergonomics and Functionality including Ample room to access the server and its internal components, ample AC Power, and ample storage of all required tools/supplies

  4. List and describe the factors involved in selecting the server's operating system:

    Meets Minimum Security Requirements: No PC operating system does. However, a competent technician certified in the operating system chosen should be able to configure it to the minimum acceptable security requirements.

    Supports all intended roles of the server

    Supports all intended hardware components of the server: While most hardware has drivers for the current Microsoft products that only means that they exist, it is an entirely different issue as to whether they are well written and will not cause problems with other device's drivers or software. For Windows 2000 Microsoft recommends using only hardware from the Windows 2000 Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for Windows Server 2003, only "Approved" devices (and their drivers) should be used from the ratings given by the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL).

    Supports all intended additional software

    Meets minimum mission level (reliability/availability expectations)

    Supports interoperability with all other systems: including network connectivity devices (i.e. Routers) other types of server and clients.

    Support staff are certified in the operating system

  5. List and describe briefly the 13 major categories of server hardware outlined in this lecture

    Case and Power supply: server chassis and internal power supply that will provide sufficient power and voltages to all components

    Motherboard: determines and provides the desired chipset, CPU socket(s)/slot(s), memory module slots, expansion bus slots, BIOS features, integrated peripherals

    CPU(s): provide the desired processing power determined by: FSB Throughput, Levels, Amounts, and Speeds of cache, Core Architecture

    RAM: provides the needed memory for the processors and the software whose performance will be influenced by: Memory Technology, Memory Amount, Memory Speed, Non-ECC or ECC, Registered vs. Non-Registered, Fully buffered RAM, single channel vs. dual channel vs. both

    Storage Controllers: will provide the performance, total storage capabilities and availability technologies determined by: ATA vs. SATA, (S)ATA vs. SCSI, native RAID support

    Storage Devices - Hard Drives: will satisfy the necessary storage requirements of the server determined by: Number and Capacity, Performance, Local vs. Remote, Fixed vs. Hotswappable

    Storage Devices - Optical Drives: will satisfy the optical drive storage requirements of the server determined by: Security, Ease of software installation, Disaster Recovery/Prevention, Ease of Installing/Copying Distributions

    Storage Devices - Tape Backup Drives: may satisfy the data backup requirements of the server determined by: Capacity, Technological Life Span, Proprietary system, Generic system level drivers vs. proprietary backup software, Speed, Reliability

    Network Interface Controllers: satisfy the network connectivity requirements of the server, influencing factors include: Network Type, Adapter features, single vs. multiple adapters

    Video Controller: at least fulfills minimum OS/software/display requirements

    Sound Controller: at least fulfills minimum OS/software requirements

    External/Removable Peripherals: fulfill server functionality requirements including: KVM Switch, Powerline Appliances, External storage, Standard external I/O Peripherals

    Additional Technologies: any additional specific hardware requirements that will provide the server with features that contribute toward its successful operation including, for example: Hotplug PCI, PCI-Express

  6. List the major categories of server hardware outlined in this lecture, that specifically mention that they can offer availability solutions

    Power supplies:
    Single or Multiple Power supplies: Redundant power supplies eliminate a single point of failure and provide the server with one of many possible high availability solutions. Other power supply features: Integrated Surge Protection, integrated load balancing and integrated fail-over technologies for coordinated functionality in multiple power supply based systems featured as availability solutions.

    Storage controllers:
    RAID: While the (S)ATA controllers do now offer integral hardware level RAID capabilities, they may be relatively limited in RAID disk group management and performance. SCSI hardware-level RAID controllers set these standards and are the better choice for high availability systems.

    Storage devices - hard drives:
    Number and Capacity: In general it is more economically efficient to buy one large hard drive than it is to buy two or more small drives that total the same capacity. However, multiple drives are needed to construct a RAID which is a high availability storage solution. Fixed vs. Hotswappable: Hotswappable local hard drive storage technologies come at a premium, but used in concert with high availability storage technologies such as RAID's allow the system not only to continue functioning during a hard drive failure, but to have it replaced and regenerated while up and running as well.

    Network Interface Controllers:
    single vs. multiple adapters: Depending on the server's intended roles, more than one NIC may be needed. Multiple NIC's may also serve as integral components in high availability systems, such as the dedicated interconnectivity between cluster server physical nodes each of which also has another NIC that attaches to the client access network connectivity device(s).

    External/Removable peripherals:
    Powerline Appliances: These include: Surge Protector, Line Conditioner, and UPS - Uninterruptable Power Supply UPS's in particular often have a data interface with the host system such that in the event of a power failure they can signal the system that this has occurred. The UPS software can then initiate a controlled shutdown rather than suffer a sudden power loss when the batteries wear out. Because the UPS can keep the system running albeit for a relatively short period of time, they do allow the system to keep running through the majority of common power company interruptions and are the cornerstone of any desired level of availability based system.

    Additional Technologies:
    Hotplug PCI: Revision of standard PCI that allows individual expansion cards to be installed/removed while the system is up and running. Hotplug PCI is therefore a high availability expansion bus solution. System board, BIOS, and operating system must all be 100% compliant for this to function properly.

  7. Server hardware components are generally more expensive than the average end-user PC equivalents. Name all peripherals mentioned in the server hardware outline above that can actually be less expensive and explain why this is so.

    Video controller: no one should use the server for any personal computing, video card can be minimal

    Sound controller: no one should use the server for any personal computing, sound card can be minimal

    Keyboard: no one should use the server for any personal computing, sound card can be minimal

    Mouse: no one should use the server for any personal computing, sound card can be minimal

    Display: no one should use the server for any personal computing, sound card can be minimal

    Optical drive: due to the possible security weakness, some servers do not have one at all

  8. List the two basic benchmarks of hard drive performance. List the three physical parameters that affect these benchmark measurements:

    Performance is measured in average seek time and read/write transfer rates. These are influenced directly by RPM, interface bandwidth, and platter utilization.

  9. List and describe the three powerline appliances mentioned. Which is considered an availabilty solution? Why?

    Powerline Appliances: These include: Surge Protector, Line Conditioner, and UPS - Uninterruptable Power Supply UPS's in particular often have a data interface with the host system such that in the event of a power failure they can signal the system that this has occurred. The UPS software can then initiate a controlled shutdown rather than suffer a sudden power loss when the batteries wear out. Because the UPS can keep the system running albeit for a relatively short period of time, they do allow the system to keep running through the majority of common power company interruptions and are the cornerstone of any desired level of availability based system.

  10. Contrast the server's external peripherals with those of the average end-user PC. Which are usually not found at all on end-user systems? Which could be the about the same? Which would actually be most likely superior on end-user systems? Explain.

    End-user systems usually do not have line conditioners or UPS'es. These are additional expenditures that do not affect the computer's performance in any way. They do provide protection for the server from electrical service problems.

    External storage might be the same in both servers and end-user systems in that servers may only use them rarely if at all and the same might be said for the end-user system. End-users might be wise enough to invest in a surge protector which the server should also have. These are generally high quality even for relatively cheap ones so the server might be equipped with exactly the same one as the average home user.

    End-user systems will more than likely have superior displays, keyboards and mice simply because they are used regularly while the servers are very rarely used.

  11. Tape backup drives are extremely common on servers. List and describe the criteria that must be considered when selecting one:

    Capacity: Modern backup tapes do have very large capacities which may be suitable for systems with enormous amounts of data to be backed up.

    Technological Life Span: Many historical tape drive technologies came and went within very short periods of time stranding users of those transient companies products.

    Proprietary system: Many tape backup drives and even the media for them are proprietary forcing the user to buy new media only from the manufacturer, fortunately most of these have disappeared from the market (see Technological Life Span above).

    Generic system level drivers vs. proprietary backup software: Generic system level drivers allow the drive to be recognized by the operating system and allows any backup software to work with the drive. Proprietary software may suffer the same problems that proprietary hardware and media do (see Technological Life Span above)

    Speed: Modern large capacity backup tapes may take a very long time to fill during a full system backup. Is the organization prepared to pay at least one support technician to see it through to completion?

    Reliability: Backup tapes have always been, for the most part, one of the least reliable storage media used in the PC. As such, the decision to use them must consider the problem of testing the backups for viability.

  12. Tape backup drives are historically the least reliable storage device on any computer system. Which device from the outline above offers a viable although smaller capacity alternative? List and describe this type of drive's advantages and disadvantages. Might a designer go with the tape drive vs. this drive based on one of these disadvantages alone?

    Optical drives are a viable alternative to tape backup drives.

    Optical Drive advantages/disadvantages:
    Security: the local optical drive is the modern day equivalent of a diskette drive, it provides an avenue by which the system can be booted to a portable bootable disc and therefore an alternate OS and therefore the possibility of bypassing the resident operating system's entire security system.

    Ease of software installation: the local optical drive provides the simplest and one of the fastest methods of delivering large amounts of data to the server including the installation of the operating system and other software.

    Disaster Recovery/Prevention: the local optical drive provides one of the simplest and most reliable methods for booting up the server and performing a full system restoration from backup discs. Or for booting the server and performing the backup operation as well as other critical maintenance operations like running an anti-virus scan on the entire drive(s).

    Ease of Installing/Copying Distributions: the local optical drive provides one of the simplest and easiest methods of introducing large amounts of data that will be moved to the server's hard drive to serve as network accessible data distributions for other servers and clients on the network.

    The server designer might go with the tape drive based on the fundamental security hole of installing an optical drive which is a removable media/bootable device.

  13. Which RAM module feature is a high availability solution? Which RAM module technology can increase the total maximum capacity of the motherboard when these are used? Which is more important in choosing RAM: the amount or the speed?

    ECC is a high availability solution.

    Registered and full buffered RAM modules allow larger amounts of RAM to be installed and supported by the north bridge, if the motherboard provides recognition and support for them.

    Amount: the more RAM, the more processes the server can run simultaneously and since servers are burdened with servicing many client machines at once, the amount is far more important than the raw speed or throughput of the RAM.

  14. The final stage of the planning phase is potentially the most difficult (if not impossible) Why?

    It is often impossible to tell if all of the selected software and hardware are going to be compatible if online research does not explicitly name the combinations, stating that they have been tested together (and this is exceedingly rare)

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