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This report has been prepared by Amrita Paul for Intranet and Internet Management (ISCG8035) as a Written Assignment1.In this report we will be discussing about the adoption of Internet technology for a school Campus. The internet technology has to be built on a large secondary school, CNZ Grammar in a major NZ city. In this report we will be discussing about different upgrades for the existing information technology infrastructure and to integrate with an Internet technology to make it a Corporate Network.
This report also discusses the different issues to implement the email services for staff and students, Internet access for staff, controlled internet access for students, building up web server, creating web pages, web-based forms in large networks. This report even discusses the corporate strategy, cost benefit analysis, architecture, management issues, and plan for managing the web content.
The report discusses the evaluation and selection of architecture for the school with justification. This would help to implement the technology if the selection of the hardware, operating system, application development tools for email and web services, content development tools are appropriate. The report concludes with conclusion or recommendations.
The CNZ Grammar, a large secondary school in NZ, is going to upgrade its network on campus. With over 1500 students being enrolled, total of 225 computers, the school finds the need for an appropriate intranet and internet technology. The school shows existing facilities and there could be some new implementation.
There are 6 labs of computers having Macintosh and PC workstations, which run on Mac OS 8 and Windows 98. The computers share a peer-to-peer Ethernet network for file sharing, no servers are involved for print and file sharing facilities for the students except for administration. Microsoft products are used in labs and administration.
Moreover there are 25 PC running on a Win XP platform for administrative purposes. This interconnection is based on a client server model that allows the staff to share printers and files. The server is NT4. There is a human resource application within the network running on a MS SQL server platform. The staffs use the accounting application MYOB, running on the PC.
2) THE REQUIREMENT ANALYSIS:
The school's Board of Management of CNZ Grammar intends to upgrade the present scenario to the current Internet and Intranet Technology standards. So the following services can be installed:
EMAIL SERVICES FOR STAFF AND STUDENTS (OFF & ON CAMPUS)
The school needs an email service off and on campus for improved communication for both staff and students.
INTERNET ACCESS FOR STAFF (ON CAMPUS)
Since the significance of Internet is increasing the school decides to give staff the opportunity to use the Internet as a large source of information gathering. On the campus itself, its users should be able to access the net from the local workstations.
CONTROLLED INTERNET ACCESS FOR STUDENTS (ON CAMPUS)
Since the significance of Internet is increasing the school decides to give students the opportunity to use the Internet as a large source of information gathering. On the campus itself, its users should be able to access the net from the local workstations. Restrictions on internet access apply to the students to avoid using their workstations for non-academic purposes.
WEB SERVER TO STORE TEACHING MATERIAL ACCESSABLE ON AND OFF CAMPUS
The school is having the demand to store and access the teaching material on and off the campus. The files should be stored on the web server so that teachers and students can easily access the materials.
WEB PAGES PROMOTING THE SCHOOL
CNZ Grammar wants to present a homepage for its promotion as well as information delivery. For that a particular domain has to be selected, registered and assigned to the web server of the school. So a concept of designing, programming and implementing the home page must be taken in to consideration. So there should be a proper content management system to make the homepage's maintenance easy for the staff.
WEB-BASED FORMS FOR STAFF TO SUBMIT THE LEAVE APPLICATIONS
There is a requirement to establish a web based service between the school's home page and HR department so that the staff can submit leave applications.
3) DERIVING THE CORPORATE STRATEGY:
By analyzing the requirement it seems that the school wants to establish an IT solution which will enable the students and the staff to communicate with each other and even outside the campus. The information should be distributed, processed and integrated within the organisation to enhance its service and should be managed with time efficiency.
This would replace the stand-alone computer system with interconnected client-server based network to form the intranet. The intranet connects set of clients using standard internet protocols called TCP/IP and HTTP. These protocols help to aggregate information from different sources accessible to teachers, students, and staff in the school. This would guarantee performance, availability, security.
"An intranet is an internal company network that uses the internet standards of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) communications protocol along with the graphical web browser to support business applications and provide departmental, interdepartmental, and companywide communications solutions."(Dyson, Coleman& Gilbert,1997)
We can extend our corporate intranet by establishing connectivity to the Internet. As more and more applications are web enabled or has web front-ends the Internet technologies can be interconnected to exchange information. So, the focus is on establishing web-based environment on campus with integrated internet and intranet facilities.
4) COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS:
The key thing is the benefit of the intranet for the school and how much will it cost. For this reason a cost benefit analysis should be taken in to consideration. Since the school has some technical expertise from the staff not much IT specialists and external consultants have to be employed to determine the requirements of the school. The duration of the project is related to the cost of it. The cost mainly includes the implementation of hardware and software which includes their proper selection. It is to be kept in mind that the school has limited finance to purchase commercial software.
The network architecture should be implemented and tested. The implementation requires expertise and knowledge from staff or external employed people who mainly works on the physical integration of the equipment. When the system is built and configured some special training has to be given both to staff and students so that they can use the new infrastructure. The training should be held by a team of expertise for proper period unless everybody is familiar with the features and advantages of the network. Possibly the student group can be trained first with the network who can also support the system administrators in terms of training. A support team can be established or outsourced to maintain the network and solve computer related problems. Keeping all these factors in mind the overall cost should be maintained within the budget.
Considering the complexity of network maintenance, it is very important that the cost intensive should not be neglected. For funding, sponsors have to be searched and convinced to invest the project.
The estimated cost of the proposed up-gradation for the Scenario is given below. This would represent an approximate cost budget which includes technical implementation, hardware cost as well as software cost.
1x Mail & Web Server
1x Backup Server
1x Student Server
1x Staff Server
6 x Printer For Lab
Processor: 1x(Std.) x Series 3.2GHz 533MHz 1024KB L3 Cache Xeon
Maximum Memory: 8GB
Storage: 80GB EIDE 7200rpm Hard Drive
Maximum Storage: 200GB
Optical Drive: DVDROM Drive Internal
Ethernet: Dual Integrated 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
Power: (1x) 411W Power Supply
Peripherals: IBM Keyboard and Mouse
Operating Systems & Package
MS Windows XP
MS Office 2003
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (5 User)
SQL Server 2008(5 User)
Installation H/W & S/W
@60/hr * 100 hrs
5) IDENTIFYING MANAGEMENT ISSUES:
Information technology is a powerful tool which can create a new process design. To overcome the obstacles of the present technology we need to identify the issues involved and define the problem and make it an effective one.
Importance of the staff
We can consider the technology as the one that use changes of all aspects of a business. So, for the present scenario the staff should be involved in the technology effort otherwise the implementation might fail.
We know that technology efforts change everyone's job making employees adopt new skills in the organisation. So, training should be provided to the staff to learn new skills.
The student should be trained as well to make the proper use of the technology. Failing to do so might harm the technology or the process. The issue of student discipline in regard to misuse of internet access is to be considered.
Holistic Thinking of the School activities
Thought of long term implications of Internet/web for the entire school should be taken in to consideration.
The crucial data is to be kept confidentially like teaching material or the information about the students and should not be accessed by unauthorised people. For this security issues need to be applied to protect corporate information. The data should be protected from the destructive forces like virus. Unauthorised access to crucial data as well as virus programs can affect the running of whole business at school. Data security cannot be guaranteed but the chance of hacking the systems and stealing or corrupting the data can be minimised. So, we need to invest on backup servers to protect the data.
Another protection is the installation of firewall. It detects particular content of the incoming web pages so as to prevent people from downloading virus programs or unlawful sites. Student's unauthorised internet access can be controlled and blocked by using software based firewall.
Funding the Intranet/Internet
The money to be spent in IT projects is limited in most cases. For this scenario the attention is drawn to a standard based solution that is to avoid high expenses. Since the school has limited budget the intension is to invest money on economical devices, applications and services for its advanced technology.
Maintenance and Support
To monitor and control the flow of information among workstations as well as to maintain the system we can introduce a Helpdesk group from existing staff expertise. These people are responsible for running the intranet and internet without any interruptions and any computer related issue. On the other hand we can outsource if it comes within the budget.
When we design an IT infrastructure, it is important to think about the system's extensibility. We know technologies keep on changing and the school cannot afford replacing the existing infrastructure every year. So, there should be some future upgrades for hardware and software. According to the requirement criteria the CNZ Grammar School is going to become completely web-based, additional software based on web front-ends can be integrated. This might provide staff's services that requires changes or updates often.
Network Diagram for the proposed strategy
6) EVALUATION OF THE ARCHITECTURE AND SOLUTION:
Email is a method of creating; transmitting or storing text based human communications with digital communication systems. Nowadays e-mail systems are based on a store-and-forward model in which e-mail server systems accept, forward, or store messages on behalf of users.
To consider an appropriate email service we need to differentiate three distinct protocols like SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), POP3 (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP4 (Internet Message Access Protocol). Email server uses SMTP protocol for sending mails. POP3 and IMAP4 are used for receiving emails.
The SMTP protocol is used for sending mails from servers to servers reliably and efficiently. Email application like MS Outlook submits the email within the network and is transferred to an SMTP Server. If the domain part of the email address is same as the server domain, it is kept within the network and then forwarded to the mail-in account of the actual client. If not the mail is sent to an appropriate server.
The sender-SMTP establishes two-way transmission channel to a receiver-SMTP. So, the receiver-SMTP can be the intermediate or can be the ultimate destination. In this manner the message can be relayed through several servers until it reaches its destination.
So, SMTP server should be implemented in the network.
POP3, the version 3 of Post Office Protocol allows the user to download emails from server to the client. The POP3 client is responsible for checking one's mail account, copying messages to local work stations. POP3 client software allows the user to decide to delete or not to delete email from the server after they are retrieved. The advantage of POP3 is that it is easy to implement and more supporting client software is available.
The Internet Mail Access Protocol Version 4 (IMAP), functions in a different manner from POP3. IMAP4 is complex than POP3, supports mail subfolders on the server (including those shared by multiple users) and complex search queries, and allows emails to be uploaded onto the server. Server keeps the email; clients simply keep local copies of the mail store and synchronize them with the server.
Advantages of IMAP:
"Â· Can manipulate persistent message status flags.
Â· Stores messages as well as fetch them.
Â· Support for multiple mailbox management.
Â· Support for concurrent updates and access to shared mailboxes.
Â· Suitable for accessing non-email data; e.g., Net News, documents.
Â· Also suitable for offline paradigm, for minimum connection time and disk use.
Â· Online performance optimisation, especially over low-speed links."
(Healy & Barber, 2003)
Accessing mailbox using IMAP4 is advantageous over POP3. Hence the school should go for it.
The Internet Access
The connection to the internet for the school becomes a crucial point. There are many technologies available with their advantages and disadvantages. We should pick up the right technology to optimise the trade-off between price and performance. There are technologies available like dial-ups, cable connections, microwave broadcasting, xDSL, ISDN.
Before we take a connection from ISP we need to decide which connection is sufficient for our network depending on usage, upload and download speed, download limit, rent per month.
We can focus on xDSL as ISDN is slow and wireless broadband access via microwave is too expensive.
xDSL refers to all types of subscribers' lines mainly ADSL and SDSL. There are two types of xDSL technologies like High-data-rate DSL (HDSL) and Very-High DSL (VDSL).
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. Dial-Up connections which used to use modems motivate implementation of DSL technology for transmission of high voltage through port links. DSL technology support two network topology like star, bus and port links like point-to-point from the local telephone exchange to the subscribers like home, school and business organizations (Littman, 2002). ADSL broadband that is most widely used asymmetric DSL technology was developed in 1994. It supports data, voice and videos over the local loop and provides excellent Quality of Service. ADSL technology employs a pair of transceivers that are located on either side of the loop; one end of the loop is the telephone exchange and the other end is the subscriber site (Littman, 2002).
Distance limit for ADSL are 1.544 Mbps at 18,000 ft; 2.048 Mbps at 16,000 ft; 6.312 Mbps at 12,000 ft and 8.448 Mbps at 9,000 ft.
ADSL and ADSL2+ both use the same technology to connect to the internet through regular phone lines but ADSL2+ is faster than ADSL. Standard ADSL offers download speed up to 8Mbps while ADSL2+ offers download speed up to 20Mbps.
We should select a routed connection for school's purpose.
For the school, I would suggest the usage of ADSL or ADSL2+ depending on the offers of the DSL provider and the charged prices.
The Servers and databases
To think about a server within the network the question arises whether we should go for Linux-based servers or Windows-based servers. A particular server platform is selected according to the particular need of the company. So, an in depth analysis of different features of both the platforms seems to be necessary. In most cases the price counts a lot. For the present scenario the cost factor is important because the money is short and the trade-off between the money spent and performance should be optimised.
The Linux based servers are more advantageous than Windows based servers. Linux is open source Software but Windows is not. Open Source Code generally implies increased security, reliability and functionality. Systems implemented under Linux can be copied many times without any additional software licensing fees but with Windows we need to pay for each installation, workstation, and server. The Linux is more reliable in the sense that the architecture of Linux is superior to Windows because critical operation system functions are implemented in such a way that virus can't cause the computer to become unstable or even crash. Linux has advanced capabilities like in addition to system utility tools from UNIX; Linux comes with Apache web server, an email server, router/firewall capabilities and SQL databases. Over all Linux is cheaper than Windows.
Due to costs, stability, performance and functionality I would suggest Linux based platform for CNZ grammar school.
The web Server
Mostly big companies use Linux based web server platforms. Apache web server is most popular and free web server in the world. This is open source software and can be installed easily. Almost all popular operating systems including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and more can work easily with Apache web server.
Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) is designed in such a way that it can work within the Windows Environment. It occupies second position from all the top servers. The features or functions of IIS are near about same with Apache but it is expensive.
Market Share for Top servers Across All Domains August 1995- March 2010
(Web server survey Archives-Netcraft)
Therefore it seems to be a good solution to use Apache as a web server. It is economical and has less chance of getting obsolete as supported by multiple platforms.
The Mail Server
The reason of choosing Sendmail instead of Microsoft Exchange is given below:
Sendmail Vs Micorsoft Exchange
I) Sendmail comes free with many versions of Linux where as Microsoft Exchange is not free with Windows. Microsoft Exchange is an add-on product, so adds expense for obtaining and implementing.
II)Sendmail offers some easily-customizable server-based spam filtering options where as Microsoft Exchange does not.
III) Send mail has less possibility of virus attack than Microsoft Exchange.
As the school already has MS SQL database running on an NT4 platform, we have to think of whether it is wise moving to more suitable database or consider the present system.
I would suggest upgrading the NT4 server running MS SQL. I would recommend a new staff database server. SQL Server database is recommended as it is a full-featured RDBMS which offers a variety of administrative tools to ease the burdens of database development, maintenance and administration.
The implementation of new technologies is based on installing a new100BASE-T Ethernet architecture using the existing components as well as the new ones. Here, the peer-to-peer Ethernet will be replaced by 100BASE-T Ethernet which will help the student and staff to share resources like file sharing and printing. The 100BASE-T Ethernet is IEEE standard which sends information on unshielded twisted pair cabling and guaranties more stability and speed. We will modify the network by adding few servers so that both staff and student can access the intranet individually and share files and printer within their group. There will be a dedicated Linux server for Email/ web services. We can control the access of internet for students on campus. There is an existing NT4 server for HR application and we will upgrade it to MS SQL Server and run both HR application and Accounting application (MYOB) application from the same server. We will provide a dedicated Linux server for student running database application like My SQL and student can also store the single home page and files on that server. There will be a dedicated Linux server working as backup server and proxy server. There will be six distribution switches for six labs and one for admin staff which will be connected with the core switch. The switch shall decide the routing of data packets in the network according to the IP address.
The Outgoing Traffic
The staff server and the student server are in the network, so that they can send Email within the intranet. If anyone wants to send Email to other outside the school network then the mail will be routed directly to the SMTP server. If anyone wants to access the school's homepage (HTML file) the request will directly go to the web server.
The Incoming Traffic
All the incoming traffics (IP packets) coming through core switch are distributed to proper server based on their protocols and IP-addresses. Switching properties are stored in the switch's routing lists which mean HTTP packets will be passed to the web server; SMTP packets will be passed to the Email server.
Altogether there are 225 computers which are installed on school campus. There are 200 computers in six labs and 25 PCs for administration department. The student workstations are Macintosh and PC computers running Mac OS 8 and Windows 98 respectively. On the other hand staffs' computers are running on Windows XP. To run all the PCs over a network, few up gradations are recommended. Windows 98 has to be changed to Windows XP and the processor speed and memory should be 300 MHz and 128 MB respectively. If up gradation is not done the file sharing and client-server based application will be slow. At least 1.5 GB of hard disc is required. This is possible to connect both Macintosh and Windows XP clients with Linux server and SQL server by using TCP/IP.
According to the network architecture four servers will be equipped. It is recommended that not to run email, web and file sharing services on one server due to security and workload reasons. We will base our network with four main servers due to financial restrictions. The SMTP server and web server are running on Linux due to stability and performance reason. Since the server works as a HTTP file server as well, at least 4GB RAM and few hard drives have to be installed.
There is a plan for dedicated student server and hard drive space should be allocated 20 MB for each student that means we need one hard drive (more than 30 GB) for storing file and homepages.
In case of staff server there should be additional requirement of a hard drive and RAM because they need to do a lot of processing for MYOB and HR application.
There is a plan for back up and proxy server. Back server is an excellent way to save the important files, important emails and database. Hard drive of 200 GB is recommended for overall backup.
Nowadays hard drive is having huge capacity and very cheap in market.
Firewall and Router
There should be a firewall in front of the core switch which protects the network from unauthorised access. It can be a software program or physical hardware device or combination of both.
The connection to the internet is to be established by using ADSL router. If the budget exceeds we would suggest going for an ISDN line with maximum capacity of about 128kb/s which would be comparatively slower.
The present selection is based on cost effectiveness, performance, reliability and academic purpose.
Web server & Email server: Linux
Student server: Linux
Staff Database server: MS Windows 2008 Server
Backup server & Proxy server: Linux
PC and Macintosh computers will be installed with:
Microsoft Office 2003
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Microsoft Outlook 2003
Human resource application for staff's workstations
MYOB accounting application for staff's workstations
Antiviral and filtering software (Ministry of Education anti-virus deal for Schools. Schools in New Zealand will receive free anti-virus software)
The following applications can be used on different servers:
Web server: Apache
Email server: Sendmail (with Linux)
Student server: My SQL
Staff Database server: MS SQL Server 2008
Back Up & Proxy Server
Firewall: LINUX & KERIO WINROUTE Firewall
Switch: 48-Port 10/100 Rackmount Switch
Cable: UTP CAT6 Patch Leads 1.5m to 5m length
The Homepage for school
We can consider the school as a corporate organisation when creating the homepage for it. It is like interfaces between customers which functions as delivering important information to groups. As a corporate website the school's homepage should be filled up with up to date content to reflect professionalism. Maintaining homepage is costly, so a solution should be made to minimise the expenditure for its maintenance. Therefore, I would suggest for web content management for quick update of websites without actual need of web programmer.
We can build dynamic web pages using Linux platform, Apache web server, MySQL database and Perl6 (new version) as the programming language. It should be the cheapest investment possible and working procedure is faster and easier. So, to build up a homepage we have to consider database, protocols and programming languages as the dynamic elements. There are many ways to develop dynamic web pages. We would be suggesting the important techniques or tools.
CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
The CGI is a protocol which communicates with web forms and server side program. The CGI program is written in programming languages like Perl, C, etc. The CGI program executes by accepting the input from the user to process an output. The CGI script has a sequence like when the HTTP passes the file to an appropriate program, it processes the file. The CGI program outputs the straight HTML that the HTTP server understands.
The HTML file is automatically created when the CGI program grabs appropriate program from the database. The CGI scripts are traditional method of performing few functions like searching; server side image map handling however their common use is form processing and high access rate of HTML template and Perl-script in CGI might overload the server. More over other options are now available for interfacing with databases so the question is whether the school should go for it. There are other options like ASP, PHP, Java Servlets and JSP.
ASP (Active Server Pages)
Active Server Pages (ASP) is a programming environment for Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS). It is used to interface with data on the server to create dynamically generated web pages. It is configured to process form information as well. Scripting is usually written in Visual Basic.
More over the server has to run on a Windows based platform with Microsoft's IIS installed. LINUX server doesn't work with ASP, so it is not recommended for the school.
PHP (Postscript Hypertext Processor)
PHP is scripting language that allows creating dynamically generated web pages like ASP. PHP works with a variety of web servers but commonly used with Apache. PHP code is similar to Perl or ASP and can be embedded in to HTML document. It includes short bits of PHP code directly in a web page to process form data or extract database information which is more advantageous over CGI.
Unlike Perl no new instance opens with multiple accesses on the web sites. So, one server is enough to support load balancing. Thus, I would recommend using PHP for school for its efficiency, providing a commercial solution as Linux servers already supply the user with the facility to implement Perl-scripts and it is free.
7) WEB CONTENT MANAGEMENT
Web content methods and technologies are used for managing the content of the website. Web content management is defined as an organisational process aided by software tools for managing the content of the web with its life cycle that runs from its creation to destruction.
Managing content of an intranet site or internet site is important and that should be considered by the Management. As intranet aims at fast flowing of the information, the data like schedule changes, dates of the exam that should be available to the user. So, depending on the type of the information and the user group the reliability and availability requirements can be met. Urgent information should reach the destination quickly.
Usually large organisations are employing web masters, web designers and web programmers who do their different jobs. The web programmer does the coding of the page and the web designer looks after the visual appearance of the pages. As the school is a medium sized organisation we can have one web master rather than more than one like the large organisation. Once the web pages are designed, its identity can be guaranteed in the web site. Then the data can be sent to the webmaster to guarantee accuracy and security policy. We know web publishing is a time taking process as the process of checking online material is done before publishing. The school's intranet can be provided with a content management system (CMS). We know that a CMS provides authoring, routing, updating, publishing, disseminating, archiving and security functions for different types of content. CMS have some tools to manipulate- 1) Textual information about products or people. 2) Binary files (audio, video, programs, pictures). 3) Email with text rich media. 4) Structured text in database or unstructured text. 5) Numeric information, etc. There are different types of CMS.
So, we need to choose right CMS for the school. The Web Content management is a type of CMS.
Issues in web content management
A web site must be with new content and out of date should be removed. So, the organisation should encourage the content providers. Due to increased activity in content generation many issues can be raised.
Bottlenecks: A web management function becomes a bottleneck for its content revision. Different contents are edited manually which delays web publishing.
Consistency: Web editing in departments can create inconsistencies in the look of its site and can have variable quality of layout and content. At the basic level in case of school it can lose coherent style and design.
Navigation: If the structure and content are not controlled the navigation and search capabilities become hard for the content user.
Data duplication: The content of the web is often a copy of data held in departmental system, changes to one system which are manually replicated in the other system. So, data cannot be stored redundantly in the application. If the data needs to be copied the application needs to be controlled.
Content Audit and Control: Unauthorised content can appear on the web site. Some controls and processes need to be defined to manage web publishing.
Tracking: To track and reconstruct the changes of the content it is important to know the content creator, the creation date and updating date of the content.
(Vidgen, Goodwin & Barnes, 2001)
So, the Web Content Management System (WCMS) packages are aimed at looking after the issues. Generally WCMS is responsible for security of the web content.
We can consider these issues if the school has enough budget to control the security.
There are free options available but the cost of CMS depends on efficiency of technical team and how our specifications are. It is not obvious that the more we spend the better our online presence will be. A site is only as good as its content: CMS is simply the vehicle that gets our content online.
Additional equipments can be considered for future development. The network can be extended with additional back-up server or firewall for more security. The back-up server is mainly used to restore the data from the main server, if in any case the server fails. The advantage of additional firewall is that it can continue operation if the main firewall fails.