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How Much Performance Gain Will Gigabit between Webservers and Database Servers Buy?

Posted on 2004-08-04
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Hi,

We are in the process of upgrading our network and due to the firewall being 100mbs/port, we are weighing our options.  Our clients have an Excel add-in that uses webqueries to pull possiby large amounts of data (for those unfamiliar with webqueries, just think of a very large webpage - say at most 5000 rows and 30 columns of comma delimited data).  Besides standard webpage requests we get, say at most, 300 of these high data requests a day.

Do we sacrifice security somewhat and buy one gigabit switch and put the database server and webservers in our trusted zone of our firewall?  The thought being the the webservers will communicate directly to the database server (gigabit connection) before it has to go out through the firewall at 100mbs to the internet.  Alternatively, we could put the webservers in the DMZ. but then they will be limited by the firewall since they will have to go down to 100mbs to communicate with the database server in the trusted zone.  How much does this impact a large request since it still has to go back out through the firewall but then limited further by a 3mbs connection out to the internet?


Thanks,

Karl
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Question by:karlkawano
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fatlad earned 250 total points
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If your Internet link is 3Mbs there is no way to get information on the web quicker! The internet link will be the bottleneck. Your best bet would be to increase that link, assuming the majority of your requests come from there. It may be more cost effective to get a hosting company to take your servers as they will be able to get massive bandwidth cheaper than you.

If you ever get over 100Mb Internet link, or you have a large number of requests orginating in the LAN, then maybe get a better firewall, one with GigE ports. Checkpoint or PIX can both accomodate this on the higher end boxes. If you are running SCSI HDD in the server remember you will not get a higher transfer rate than the bandwidth of the SCSI bus.

NEVER put the webserver in the trusted network, that is not going to be a good plan. There is no reason why you could not put a GigE Switch entirely in the DMZ although the performance benfits of this will be quite low.

Hope this helps,

FatLad
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by:karlkawano
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Thanks FatLad,

You pretty much confirmed what I had thought.  Just out of curiousity, any rough idea what the bandwidth is of 15000 rpm drives in a raid 5 configuration?  I have heard that 7500 rpms are roughly 250 mbs, though that was just something I found on a forum.

Thanks again,

Karl
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by:fatlad
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Karl,

There are two main things that will effect this:

1. The physical speed with which the disks can pull date from the spinning platters; and
2. The bandwidth of the bus you are using (wide, ultrawide, SCSI160, SCSI320, FC etc).

When you get over 4 or 5 drives it is normally the latter that comes into play as the way data is stripped accross the array means the drives are ready and waiting by the time their turn comes.

Does that answer your question?

FatLad
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by:karlkawano
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Yes it does, I'll find out what SCSI we have and look the specs up.  

Thanks very much for all the help!!!


Karl
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