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Gigabit Ethernet

Hi,

I have a small data center with the following servers:

IBM Netfinity 5600, Windows 2000 server, 10/100 Ethernet
IBM Netfinity 5600, Windows 2000 server, 10/100 Ethernet
IBM Netfinity 5600, Windows 2003 server, 10/100 Ethernet
IBM Netfinity 5600, Linux, 10/100 Ethernet
IBM xSeries 232, Windows 2003 server, 10/100 Ethernet
Dell 1600SC, Windows 2003 server, 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Dell 1600SC, Windows 2003 server, 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Dell 6650, Windows 2003 server, Dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Dell 6650, Windows 2003 server, Dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet
AS400 170e, 10/100 Ethernet

I would like to get all the servers (except for the AS400) to comunicate at gigabit speed. What equipment do I need to do this, I am assuming that I will need gigabit ethernet cards for the servers without them and a gigabit switch of some sort. I want to ensure the servers communicate at gigabit but also are compatible to communicate with the rest of the network that is at 10/100.

Suggestions please.
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blairhenry
Asked:
blairhenry
2 Solutions
 
rshooper76Commented:
You will need a gigabit switch and gigabit card for the servers.  Most gigabit switches also allow 10/100 communication.  You can get gigabit switches for a low as $100.00 but the relaibilty of these won't be as good as a good managed gigabit switch.  My personal prference is Cisco Catalyst Switches, but they are very expensive.  As long as you get a "Managed Switch" you should be ok.
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nazirahmedCommented:
Hi
You are right, you need giga bit NIC cards, which probably will be there in these servers, a switch supporting gigabit ports and then the giga bit switch connected to other desktop swicthes either probably with fiber links and rest of the desktop pcs/servers connected to the swithces either on 100mb or gigabit. It depends on what kind of swithces you have and whether you can invest more to put in giga bit modules to them, if they are not there.

Gigabit from servers------->to switches with gigabit/fiber ports-------->links from giga bit/fiber switches to the other swithes--..>>possibley------>fiber----->the desktop/lower end swithces with 2 or more fiber/giga bit ports for switch to switch connectivey and rest 10/100 or more ports.

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blairhenryAuthor Commented:
Do I neet to go with gigabit/fiber ports or is gigabit copper OK. What is the difference.
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pseudocyberCommented:
Gig copper is fine - if you've got quality cabling - Cat5e or Cat6 preferably.  Note, you'll never get 1000Mb throughput - that's a theoretical max.  GigE over copper, maybe 800Mb.  Note, unless you're doing backups across your network, you're not going to see hardly ANY utilization on GigE.  Have you examined the utilization on your 100Mb current connections?  If you're like most shops, it's probably not very much.
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blairhenryAuthor Commented:
We are doing backup across the network and it is very slow. Other than the backups I agree that we are not pushing the 100MB Lan very hard, but mainly I want to speed up the network backup and replication speeds.
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pseudocyberCommented:
Gotcha.  When you're looking at Gig switches, make sure they're "non-blocking" - they can give you the full througput across the backplane.  The lower end Gig switches can't.  For instance, a 16 port GigE switch that can only do 4Gb across its backplane - can only switch 4Gb at a time.

I would personally recommend switches which are 10/100/1000 - then you can migrate at your leisure.
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blairhenryAuthor Commented:
So to sum up,

Copper GigE is fine, and the simplest method would be to implement a switch that is 10/100/1000 compatible. To ensure best performance ensure the switch is not limited in the throughput across the backplane.

Any suggestions on makes and models? I want to get the proper device at the best price point, I have no brand preferance.
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pseudocyberCommented:
I haven't used these, but from reading about them, they seem pretty decent for relatively (compared to Cisco and Nortel) inexpensive price.

http://www.asante.com/downloads/dataSheets/IC36480_DS.pdf ~ $3500.00

Cisco Catalyst 3560G-24TS
  24 Ethernet 10/100/1000 ports and 4 SFP ports
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/switches/ps5528/index.html  $3100-$3600

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rburns50Commented:
We got rid of our Cisco and Extreme switches, and replaced them with Foundry switches. They offer non-blocking architecture way cheaper than the others, and the CLI is the same (actually better) than Cisco. The Foundry gear blows the doors off the Cisco CAT switches we had in testing- their backplane speed is blazing. And the sflow capability in the ASIC's gives you distributed sniffing and monitoring (fixing one of the drawbacks to switches).

See the FWS- X424 or X448 at http://www.foundrynetworks.com/products/l23wiringcloset/fastironwork/FWSX424_X448.html
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