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The First Principle of Constructing Stable Network - Simple is the Best!

The writer has concluded from the experience of debugging and trouble shooting network server that the major cause of unstable network is - too greedy!

Few years ago, the network system of the writer's serving company is problematic. These basic administration problems should be solved by the system administrators but not to be worried by me, the director. However, the problem got serious and affected the normal operation of the company. Sometimes, the machines hanged few times a day. Also, problem surfaced on the email system. I am forced to examine the system by the situation!

But I did not go to the server room directly. Instead, I found the system administrators to have a meeting. I said something that a director of a company supposed to say. It is mainly about company objectives and something rather nonsense. I asked if they understand or not and the answer is of course yes. But I continued, "Then please help me to list and delete software that do not conform with the company objectives and operations."

After that, the server run for months without problem!

I think there is no need for me to explain the fast development of the IT world. New software appears everyday. As IT guys, we must always pay attention to and test these software. But to "play" and test is one thing while to "produce" is another thing. Another reason that systems get more and more complicated is the installations of software without the examining the root cause of the problems of the system. Take the above example, there are 3 DHCP Servers in the system because the system administrators lack the understanding of TCP/IP. Actually, there should only be one DHCP Server in a network. Problem will occur if there is more than one DHCP Server without proper configuration. The administrators entered the WINS address wrongly since they did not pretty understand the functions of WINS. They then blindly install software packages, thinking that they will help, after problem occurred. However, the real problem is not the lack of functions without software. It is because there are too many software packages and the functions repeated themselves. Conflicts occurred between the software packages and become a mess!

So, if you find your network system problematic. The first thing you should do is to run a software audit and examine how many unnecessary software packages there are. And you have one more reason to do this thing because using illegal software copies is now a criminal offence in Hong Kong!

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