Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides

To quote Technet: “The Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) guides are the next version of Windows Server System Reference Architecture. The guides in this series help clarify and streamline design processes for Microsoft infrastructure technologies, with each guide addressing a unique infrastructure technology or scenario.


Infrastructure Planning and Design guides share a common structure, including:

  • Definition of the technical decision flow through the planning process.
  • Listing of decisions to be made and the commonly available options and considerations.
  • Relating the decisions and options to the business in terms of cost, complexity, and other characteristics.
  • Framing decisions in terms of additional questions to the business to ensure a comprehensive alignment with the appropriate business landscape.

These guides complement product documentation by focusing on infrastructure design options.
Each guide leads the reader through critical infrastructure design decisions, in the appropriate order, evaluating the available options for each decision against its impact on critical characteristics of the infrastructure. The IPD Series highlights when service and infrastructure goals should be validated with the organization and provides additional questions that should be asked of service stakeholders and decision makers.
IPD consists of the following downloadable packages:

  • New! Exchange Online—Evaluating Software-plus-Services
  • New! Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 with R2
  • New! Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5
  • Windows Server 2008 File Services
  • Windows Server 2008 Print Services
  • Infrastructure Planning and Design Series Introduction
  • Internet Information Services 7.0
  • Selecting the Right NAP Architecture
  • Selecting the Right Virtualization Technology
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008
  • Windows Deployment Services
  • Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services
  • Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services
  • Windows Server Virtualization (for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1)

The guides are available as individual downloads or as a single all-in-one package.”

Download the guides from here.

For example the ‘Exchange Online – Evaluating Software-plus-Services’ guide presents a really simple, logical way of evaluating if Exchange Online is suited to your business’ requirements…


“This document contains six steps designed to guide the reader through the decision-making process about whether to use an on-premises e-mail service or the Microsoft Exchange Online Standard or Dedicated offering.

Step 1: Client Experience

· Office Outlook Web Access

· BlackBerry Devices

· Outlook Anywhere

· Macintosh Clients


· Single Sign-On

· IMAP and POP

· Unified Messaging

· Mobile Devices Using Exchange ActiveSync

· Mailbox Sizes

Step 2: Impacts to Mail Flow

· SMTP Relay Services

· Connectors to Other Systems

· SMTP Smart Hosting

· Transport Rules

· Line-of-Business Application Integration

· Public Folders

· Message Hygiene

Step 3: Data Management and Security Implications

· Network Security

· Archiving and Journaling

· Network Connectivity

· Signing and Encrypting Messages

· Data Isolation

· Information Rights Management

· Auditing

Step 4: Ramifications on Business Operations

· Service Continuity

· Adoption Rate for New Releases

· Disaster Recovery Testing

· Scheduled Maintenance

· Service Level Agreements

Step 5: Provisioning and Planning Concerns

· Active Directory Integration

· Capacity and Performance Planning

Step 6: Evaluate Results

The sixth step will assist the reader in evaluating the results of the first five steps.”

I haven’t had a chance to follow this through in detail but it seems a really great way of making sure you cover all the bases…

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