Binary Bridges and the Virtue of Virtualisation

Dammn, my obession with alliterative titles is getting the better of me again.

One of the problems with the design of the shop space we have is that running network cables is a pain. Our sales desk is an island surrounded by a concrete floor, so no hope of running cables under there. Dropping them down from the roofspace is a possibility but it looks so unsightly and can get in the way. Our IT suite is across the other side of the shop. This meant that cabling would be an expensive option. So, in the beginning we opted for a pair of wireless bridges. Fortunately, in amongst all the originally donated kit we had several bridge-capable wireless routers. This meant that I was able to design two secure wireless bridges, one for the sales desk and the other for the IT suite. Now, the sales bridge root router is failing. This means that I am now in the process of configuring two Cisco wireless routers, (of four we purchased ages ago), to act as a bridge. The original routers are a pair of Belkins that are really meant for home use. The root node also acts as a gateway, preventing users of the public network from accessing the admin network. Unfortunately, it’s starting to require restarting every so often which interferes with normal operations. So the quicker I get these Cisco’s configured, the better.

 In conjunction with the bridges, I am also embarking on a journey into the world of virtualisation. Due to concerns with power consumption, we have decided to virutalise our servers. We currently have five servers performing various functions (database, imaging, firewall etc). My intention is to reduce these to two physical servers, firewall/gateway/proxy and the other running everything else. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you view it), our current domain controller has two quad-core processors with hardware virtualisation, combined with five 1-Tb hard drives, making it ideal for what I need to do. (Don’t forget, I’m limited by the equipment that we have as its all donated). So I am now planning to migrate everything off this server onto a lesser machine while I rebuild it with a new virtual environment.

It’ll stop me getting bored at weekends.


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