Name: David Reade
Student No: ---99755629
Name: Tim Kelly
Student No: ---99755629
For our project we have decided to implement a network management system in Java. It will run on Microsoft NT4.0 and will be made up of five separate parts:
· Server Check System
· Server Allocation System
· Virtual Network Map
· Web-Accessed Employee Database
· Helpdesk Functionality
The purpose of this document is to specify exactly what we hope to achieve by doing this project and how we intend to achieve it. This document details our ideas and the schedule that we intend to follow in order to implement those ideas successfully. It also provides a comprehensive description of what we intend our system to do.
After researching implementation options we have decided on a final layout which we believe will allow us to successfully complete this project on time and to a high standard.
-----------This section details the reason for choosing this project along with the intended uses of the system and the overall ---------- ----------------objectives of the project
------This project was inspired by real life situations observed whilst working on INTRA. It tries to tackle some of the problems faced by medium to large scale networks by automating some common network features and improving the functionality of the I.T helpdesk. These include checking whether servers are online or not which can be tedious if there are a large number of servers and by providing a Web fronted helpdesk functionality which will save time and effort on the part of I.T helpdesk staff.
------The Network Management System will be aimed at medium to large scale corporate networks which will have a large number of servers and a high number of users connecting to hardware such as printers. The system itself will be aimed at both the I.T department and at the end-users because it provides features which can be accessed by both in order to improve network up-time and allow for easy use of network resources. As the system will be Web based it would ideally be integrated into the company’s Intranet homepage or the Intranet page could be built up around this system.
2.3.1 Overall Objectives
------The overall objective of this project is to produce a product which will be practical and complete and could ideally be integrated into a real life business scenario. The system will have to be robust and easy to use in order to make it a success. The main aim of providing an easy to use interface to run more complicated procedures will be done by providing a fully web based interface from where the administrator will have full control of the system.
2.3.2 Personal Objectives
Apart from the overall objective of producing a fully working, efficient and easy to use application we have a number of other reasons for pursuing the development of this specific project. We believe that by completing this project successfully and on time we will create a positive image to any prospective employer especially in the area of Web development. Java is the language of choice for us and we hope that by further developing our programming skills in relation to business specific problems we will strengthen our chances of securing employment in a closely related area. Our main objectives are to:
· Develop a complete, effective system from conception to implementation on time and with all related documentation.
· Develop our skills specifically relating to: Java, JSP, Servlets, Web development, Database Design and Project management.
The project constraints can be summarised as follows:
· The system will have to run on an NT4 platform with Internet explorer support for Java – JSP and Servlets.
· The project will be designed to be accessed from a company Intranet homepage which will need to be simulated, taking the Computer Applications network as the sample company Intranet and using the map of the CA building as a sample company map.
· There is only one print server on the Computer Applications network. This will require adding a temporary second print server or mimicking the original in order to make it appear as if there is more than one print server.
------This section provides a complete and detailed analysis of exactly what the system should do.
Administrators will be able to access the system via the company Intranet page which will be simulated for the purpose of presenting this project. The Intranet page will be divided into an administrator area and a client area. Administrators will have to supply a password in order to access the administrator area. When in the administrator area they will be able to perform the following administration functions:
(A) Server Check
(B) Server Allocate
(C) Helpdesk Functions
(D) Database Management – virtual network map
(E) Health check area
(A)Server Check Facility
The Server Check facility will allow an administrator to easily add and remove the IP address of any server or important machine on the network. The Server Check will then either be able to run on demand with the output to a health check area or be set to run at regular intervals with alerts being sent to the administrator via email and possibly via SMS for important machines.
This facility will allow administrators to quickly check if some problem can be related to the status of a server and aims to save time by providing a mechanism for quick diagnosis of a problem. The main aims of this facility are:
Provide quick analysis and diagnosis of the network servers and problems.
Easy addition and removal of new servers to the check list.
(B)Server Allocate Facility
The main objective of this feature is to allow management of print servers while at the same time maintaining efficient print services for clients. This facility also serves to aid the I.T helpdesk by removing the need for the I.T department to be involved in setting clients up on new printers.
In the NT4 environment, network users need to know the name of the printer that they wish to connect to as well as the name of the print server. This can lead to confusion among clients and result in one print server taking the entire load as there is no facility to regulate the assignment of new users to print servers. This facility will be accessed via the virtual map with a printer icon being used to represent the physical location of printers on the network. If a user wishes to connect to a printer all they will have to do is click on the icon and then select whether they want to set that printer as their default or not.
The user does not need to know anything about which print server to connect to as this will all be done automatically, spreading out the connection of new users equally over the available print servers.
Once this feature is complete it should effectively cut the amount of time and calls that the I.T department has to spend dealing with problems relating to print services and connections.
The main aims of this facility are:
· Save I.T department time by removing the cause of printer calls to the helpdesk and maximising the potential of the print servers.
· Easy and quick for clients to connect to any printer.
The aim of this feature will be to provide an easy to use web fronted helpdesk system which is effective in dealing with client problems. In the administrator area, administrators will be able to see problems logged by clients and once they have completed the call they will be able to enter a resolution and then close that call. The closed call will be stored and will be used again when a client enters a similar call.
Once this facility is developed more we will make decisions regarding the use of historic calls, namely whether they are only for administrator viewing or whether clients would be allowed to see completed calls similar to their current problem in order to allow them to solve the problem themselves. If we allow client access to completed calls there are a number of issues which could be raised such as encouraging inexperienced users to tackle I.T related problems on their own. On the other hand allowing clients to see the calls could save the I.T department time especially when the solution is trivial. The main aims of this facility are:
· Provide an easy to use, effective application with quick problem diagnosis.
· Fully Web fronted.
Administrators will have full access when it comes to the employee database. The database will need to be easy to use and will correspond to the virtual network map. Administrators will be able to quickly and easily add and remove people from the employee database. The database will also include a photograph of each employee and their exact location on the network map.
The reason for including this feature is to allow quicker desktop support by the I.T department. If the network is large with a large number of employees, then having a facility which allows people to identify the physical look and exact location of a person will save time, especially for the I.T department. It will also aid new employees when it comes to finding their way around the network. The main aim of this facility is to provide easy uploading and removing from the database.
(E)Health Check Area
This area will be used to show the administrator the current state of the network. Apart from receiving an email or SMS information regarding servers will be sent to the health check area.
This area might also allow access for clients so that when a problem occurs with some application that they are using they could check this page to see if there is currently some problem relating to that application. Administrators could also inform users of expected completion time which would save on the amount of traffic that the I.T helpdesk has to deal with because they would not have to deal with calls from everyone who is affected by the problem. The main aims of this facility are:
· Provide a first port of call when there is a problem.
· Allow fast diagnosis of network related problems.
Clients will also access the system via the Intranet homepage. It is undecided whether or not clients will require a password to access the system as the benefits will be weighed against the overheads once more research has been carried out. The basic core functions which are provided for clients are:
(A) Virtual Map
The network map has two basic functionalities:
· Employee Information
· Printer Connection
Once in the client area, users will be able to view a map of the network. They will be able to view the physical layout of the company on a floor by floor basis. They will also be able to select any person on the map and have their photograph and details displayed in the corner of the screen. This will provide a mechanism by where people can easily retrieve contact details about any employee in the company. There will also be a search facility which will retrieve the details of any employee by entering the employees name or phone number or some other personal detail.
Figure 3. Sample Virtual Map with Employee Search and printer connection
The virtual map will also contain a printer icon which will correspond to the real physical location of a printer on the network. A sample of what this may look like is shown on Figure 3. Clients will be able to simply click on any printer which they require connection to and they will be connected automatically.
The helpdesk area will allow clients to enter their specific problems straight to the I.T department. From here calls will be logged to the database. The Helpdesk area will require the user to enter some fields relating to the problem as well as some of their personal details.
This system will be based on three layer architecture with a Web based front end, the middle-layer being Java, JSP and Servlets and an Oracle database at the back–end. This model is outlined in Figure 1. This will be the model for the majority of the system.
· The front end will simply be designed as a companies Intranet page with access for both clients and administrators.
· The Middle-Layer will comprise of a Tomcat Web Server along with all the Java code responsible for accessing the database and connecting people to printers.
· The back end will comprise of an Oracle database. There will be an employee database as well as a helpdesk database.
Figure 4. Three Tier Architecture
The system can be broken down into the following sub-systems.
(A) Server Check
(B) Server Allocate
(D) Employee Database
(E) Web-based Interface
The Server Check system will run over the network as a Java program. The check list of IP addresses will be stored in a database which the administrator can add and remove from. The basic layout of the Server Check will be as follows:
· Ping the server with output to a text file.
· Check the results to see whether the server is online.
· If the server is offline alert the administrator via email, SMS or the Web.
· Clear up all files and continue onto the next server.
The Server Allocate program will incorporate some of the server check facility to carry out its role. When a user has selected a printer to connect to, the Java executable is run.
Firstly, both print servers are checked and if one of them is offline then the user is automatically connected via the other print server the connection is recorded. If both servers are online then a counter is checked for that specific printer on both print servers. Which ever server has fewer connections for that specific printer becomes the server which the user is connected through. This connection is then added to the counter for that printer.
Printer connection will be controlled by the use of registry files which will be set up for each printer on the network.
The Helpdesk will comprise of a relational Oracle database which will be accessed using JSP and Servlets. A search Tool will also need to be implemented in order to compare historic calls with current problems.
The employee database will again be an Oracle database which will be accessed via the Web. Database Administration will be done using Java Servlets and JSP, allowing easy addition and removal from the database.
(E)Web Based Interface
The Interface for this system will be very important. It will need to be visually sound and easy to navigate. For the purpose of this project we are going to create a company Intranet Site based on the Computer Applications network. We intend to use some development tool such as Microsoft Visio to draw up a clear digital version of the CA building. Once online all resources will be added to these maps using a photo editing tool such as PhotoShop.
This system will run on Microsoft’s NT4.0 and will require registry access. MS-DOS Batch files will be used for running some of the automated processes within the system.
This system will be developed using the J2SDK as it will implement both Servlet and JSP technologies. An Apache Tomcat Web Server will be required in order to run both the Servlets and the JSP’s. Java development will be done using Borland’s JBuilder 3.5.
Web development will be done using Microsoft FrontPage and PhotoShop 6.0.
The network map will be designed using a development tool such as Microsoft Visio.
A relational Oracle database will provide the back end storage.
Summary of Software required:
Java, Java Servlets and JSP.
MS-Dos Batch files.
FrontPage and PhotoShop for Web Development.
This section outlines our schedule for the project development. By the end of each month we intend to have completed the area which we have outlined below. We intend to produce documentation for each stage of development in order to build up a complete picture of the system.