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CAD Server setup...sort of?

Posted on 2002-04-18
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Last Modified: 2010-07-27
Let me set the scene:
We have a 10 mbps network with about 20 nodes. Most of the PC's have 10mbps NIC's and some have 100mbps. Our hubs are both 10mbps and I can't purchase new ones. We have two CAD stations on running XP Pro and one runing NT 4.0. Both the CAD stations have to be on the original 10mbps LAN for file sharing purposes. The NT workstation stores all the CAD files and must share with the XP workstation. The sharing works fine, the only problem seems to be the 10mbps NIC's that seem to bring the two workstations to a crawl.

Now that all of that is said...the question:
I was thinking of adding an extra 100mbps NIC in each of the workstations and connecting them with a crossover cable. Is this the best way to go? Remember I am on little or no budget here. If it is possible, how do I get the CAD stations to connect to each other through the 100mbps NIC's and connect to the rest of the LAN through the 10 mbps NIC's? Thanks
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Question by:victoriarugby
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11 Comments
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:scraig84
ID: 6951148
That could certainly be done - the question is of necessity.  When you say that the 10Mbps brings them to a crawl, what do you mean?  How do you define crawling?
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Author Comment

by:victoriarugby
ID: 6951161
When you go to open a drawing off the other pc, it takes several minutes for the workstation to pull up the folder contents. When you have to switch between folders to open and save drawings, this takes a loooooooong time(several minutes). You do get to sit and watch the little flashlight scan for files and that's interesting!
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:scraig84
ID: 6951175
If you open a file locally, I'm assuming it doesn't do this?  The reason I'm asking is that CAD apps often consume a TON of processor, and that is many times the bottleneck, rather than the network.

Another question - are you pulling the files from a share or from a drive mapped to a share?  In theory there should be no difference, but there is - a mapped drive will often cut a fair amount of time.
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Author Comment

by:victoriarugby
ID: 6951366
The drawings are being pulled from a mapped drive. It is also slow to open the files locally using the mapped drive. These CAD folders are VERY large. Each folder contains up to 700MB - about 3000 files. There are about 10 main folders used and each about this size. I think it is a little slower in the CAD program due to the fact that when you go to open a drawing it looks through the directory for CAD files only, so it can display them. But it is slow locally also. I appriciate your help, if you need any more info., just let me know.
Do you think it would run faster between to XP workstations?
Do you think the LAN speed upgrade will help?
Should I dedicate a 'CAD file server'?
Thanks again
0
 

Author Comment

by:victoriarugby
ID: 6951368
The drawings are being pulled from a mapped drive. It is also slow to open the files locally using the mapped drive. These CAD folders are VERY large. Each folder contains up to 700MB - about 3000 files. There are about 10 main folders used and each about this size. I think it is a little slower in the CAD program due to the fact that when you go to open a drawing it looks through the directory for CAD files only, so it can display them. But it is slow locally also. I appriciate your help, if you need any more info., just let me know.
Do you think it would run faster between to XP workstations?
Do you think the LAN speed upgrade will help?
Should I dedicate a 'CAD file server'?
Thanks again
0
 

Author Comment

by:victoriarugby
ID: 6951384
The drawings are being pulled from a mapped drive. It is also slow to open the files locally using the mapped drive. These CAD folders are VERY large. Each folder contains up to 700MB - about 3000 files. There are about 10 main folders used and each about this size. I think it is a little slower in the CAD program due to the fact that when you go to open a drawing it looks through the directory for CAD files only, so it can display them. But it is slow locally also. I appriciate your help, if you need any more info., just let me know.
Do you think it would run faster between to XP workstations?
Do you think the LAN speed upgrade will help?
Should I dedicate a 'CAD file server'?
Thanks again
0
 

Author Comment

by:victoriarugby
ID: 6951385
When you go to open a drawing off the other pc, it takes several minutes for the workstation to pull up the folder contents. When you have to switch between folders to open and save drawings, this takes a loooooooong time(several minutes). You do get to sit and watch the little flashlight scan for files and that's interesting!
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:scraig84
ID: 6951453
So if you move a file to the local hard drive of the CAD machine for a test, does it open CONSIDERABLY faster when local, or just slightly (5-10 seconds difference).  If its not considerable, then the network can't be much to blame and an increase there won't help much.
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Author Comment

by:victoriarugby
ID: 6951462
Considerably faster!
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LVL 8

Accepted Solution

by:
scraig84 earned 300 total points
ID: 6951503
Well, it certainly isn't going to hurt anything to try it out.  There probably will be a fairly significant increase in performance.

Like you said, hook them up with a crossover.  For better performance, you should be able to set both cards to full duplex.  Use a seperate IP subnet and address the machines accordingly.  Now, to be sure that you are accessing the files from the correct card, map the drive to the IP address and share rather than the name and share like:

\\192.168.1.1\sharename

This will make sure that the boxes aren't resolving names to addresses belonging to the other cards.
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Author Comment

by:victoriarugby
ID: 6951533
Thanks for all your help, I'll try it out.
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