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Collapsed Backbone

Posted on 1998-12-26
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Last Modified: 2008-03-06
A network design requires a collapsed backbone design using a ethernet switch.  The network has nearly 3000 nodes funneling down to a single farm of file servers in a centralized location.  What are some of the important things to look for in selecting a ethernet switch for this application?
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Question by:jfpresley
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Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1594511
The three most important things are:

Speed
Speed
Speed

What is the service to the workstations? 10Base-T? To the servers? 100Base-TX? How many servers?

3000 is a *LOT* of traffic for a collapsed backbone.

What NOS? Novell? NT? What protocol? IPX? TCP/IP?

Is not simple question to answer without more data.

M

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trath earned 10 total points
ID: 1594512
MARK2150 is right when he said that that is ALOT of nodes on a collapsed backbone. However whe selecting a switch speed is not necessarily the what you are going for. Fault Tolerence is what you need to be looking at, anything else would be a job killer.

Your decision needs to be based on this "Who needs what, where, and how fast do they need it?" What you should be looking at is

BANDWIDTH
BANDWIDTH
BANDWIDTH

For example if you have 10 users that utilize simple PC based workstations and 20 that are using somthing like Citrix Winframe(WINTERM's), the Winframe people require more dedicated bandwith than do PC based users so their connection need to be routed differently.

For instance without getting into NOS, and protocol type. Can all 10 of the PC based users be supported on a 10 or 100baseT hub that is connected to 1 100meg port on a switch. Do the people running Winframe need their own 100meg port on the switch for dedicated 100meg bandwidth. The key in choice is not so much hardware but a solid infrastructure design that reflects users present and future needs based on growth over a period of time.

However, my suggestion for type of switches and hubs to use is Bay Networks. We use them and they impress me more and more every day.
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