Tekk Life: In The Throngs of Exchange and STP

     Tekk Life: Something Slightly, Different

     So this is a new series I thought I would start.  Something similar to a day in the life of.  But with me as an IT professional.  I get a good view of what it takes to be an IT professional and IT Director.  A lot of skills are technical but a lot of skills are people and social skills.  That is a good insight for people who are new to the industry or wanting to get into the industry.  And besides the personal aspect of the field there is the fact that some of things we have to do is not necessarily the best way or correct way to do it but that is how it will work in a real world environment.  Reading these things as they happen could be a good insight for those of you reading out there.  If you don't like this or think I should change something about it then please tell me in the comments below.

     So right now at my company we are starting a large project.  We decided to bring our email in house and use Microsoft's Exchange Server software.  I may be kicking myself in the ass when this is done but that is what I decided would be best for the company at this point.  Besides that I am also working towards my CCNP so I am back in school.  We recently dug into the joys of Spanning-Tree Protocol.

There Is Nothing Lovelier Than A Spanning Tree

     For those of you who don't know Spanning-Tree Protocol is a fun thing almost no one thinks about,  It runs on network switches to prevent loops but allow redundancy in the network.  Simply put if you have three switches that look like this...

/      \
/         \
|<-|         |->|

     The arrows being the switches and the lines between being cables, then you would have a loop in the network.  Not good and it could slow things down to a crawl.  VERY simply put Spanning-Tree Protocol (aka STP) blocks one of those links to prevent a loop.  If another of the links goes down then the blocked one is unblocked so you don't lose connectivity.  The real fun part is the different versions and technologies that go with each.  Here is a quick summary of the types for you if you are a crazy like me and would like to have something to throw into Google and read up more on.

STP or CST - Spanning-Tree Protocol or Common Spanning-Tree
RSTP - Rapid Spanning-Tree
MST - Multiple Spanning-Tree
PVST - Per-Vlan Spanning-Tree (Cisco Proprietary)
PVST+ - Per-Vlan Spanning-Tree Plus (Cisco Proprietary)

     Exchange Server, You Heard Me Right

Microsoft Exchange Server     There is a very shallow dive into very massive networking topic.  You're welcome.  Like I said up above I have also been learning about Exchange Server.  Trust me when I say, "What fun!"  Most companies already have Exchange or are using something like Office 365 or its kin but we have never had Exchange and my company decided it was time for an upgrade on the email front.  I gave them some options including things like Zoho or SoGo alongside Exchange Server and we decided on Exchange.  In hindsight I could have handled that process better but that is for another post.  For now here is a link to the website I am reading through in preparation for our Exchange Server deployment.  Enjoy!

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