I've recently become a big fan of this site. I am not very familiar with computer language and acronyms, but I've set up multiple small, simple networks in friend's houses, businesses I've worked, etc. My experience is mostly with just routers and switches, but my new job would like me to set up the new network in our office with a server.
I have no real experience with dedicated servers. Only workstations serving as a host computer. I figure there is not too much difference, but I was just looking for some advice on server hardware and server OS. We are looking to use the server for maybe some routing purposes, but mostly storage (I'm not sure how routers and switches fit into all of this. Because I thought I read that servers could be used for routing purposes, though I could easily be wrong, and you wouldn't have the ports for it using just a regular desktop like we are planning on doing). We have a Dell Optiplex 330 to use as the server with XP already loaded on. The specs are:
Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 2.66 GHz processor
2.98 GB of RAM
and a 250GB hard drive
With growth factored in for the next few years the network would consist of 12-15 computers, most are the Dell Optiplex series with a few Vostro all running XP, and 3-4 printers.
Also, at the new office we are moving into there are already at least 30 wires run throughout the entire building, connecting to patch panels in the server room. Everything is labeled showing what connections are which ports in the panels. However, I have no experience with those and no clue where to begin setting up routers/switches/servers with patch panels. Some patch panels even have line running between them. Do patch panels work similarly to switches, or is it a completely different ballgame?
We also have some leftover hardware from a fall through deal with another company. We have a Cisco Catalyst 2950 24 port switch as well as a couple 8 port Cisco ASA 5505. Would these be decent for our network. I know using all of them might be overkill, though the building is wired with dozens of lines, so maybe not. But should I look into something more advanced, or will I even need those switches with the patch panels?(Again, I am not sure how patch panels fit into a network set up.)
I might be repeating myself with this last little bit, as I'm sure I have in this entire post, but finally(the questions just keep coming I know) I am trying to figure out what falls where in the network set up? For example, would the server be connected to the router with the switch for all the other computers? Would it be on the switch with the computers? If I use the patch panels would they replace the switch? I plan on getting a firewall and that would be placed between the router and the modem I would imagine, but am I even correct in that assumption?
I apologize for the discontinuity and lack of detail, but I really do appreciate any and all help. Thank you for your time and cooperation in advance!
I feel that I could set this up once I get a better understanding of how some of these components I've never worked with are used. I've been reading a lot trying to piece things together and it's just not coming to me. I could just be making it all much more difficult than it needs to be. Again, thanks in advance.
There are three ways to do things, the right way, the wrong way and my way, which is the wrong way, only faster.