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question on when to upgrade to Gigabit?

Posted on 2006-10-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-17
I have a question on when to upgrade to gigabiit.  If i have a server with 100Mbps, and it runs at bandwidth of 100Mbps but it's total Bytes/sec is 7MB and therefore the total Network utilization is only 70% would upgrading to gigabit give me a performance increase?

If the network utilization and bandwidth is not maximizing, how does upgrading to larger bandwidth, 1Gbps  increase performance?

Will upgrading to 1Gbps allows give performance boost even though bandwidth utilization is low?

Just want to understand and be able to pinpoint when and what should upgrade to 1Gbps.

thanks.
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Question by:YankeeFan03
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7 Comments
 
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 17826153
Hi YankeeFan03,
>  have a question on when to upgrade to gigabiit.  If i have a server
> with 100Mbps, and it runs at bandwidth of 100Mbps but it's total
> Bytes/sec is 7MB and therefore the total Network utilization is only
> 70% would upgrading to gigabit give me a performance increase?

If you're running at a consistant 70% network utilization, I would DEFINITELY upgrade to gigabit on the server.
 
> If the network utilization and bandwidth is not maximizing, how does
> upgrading to larger bandwidth, 1Gbps  increase performance?

I can't be 100% certain, but I suspect your AVERAGE network utilization is 70%, not your consistant network utilization.  Based on this, upgrading would give you a larger pipe and allow your clients to access data faster.
 
> Will upgrading to 1Gbps allows give performance boost even though
> bandwidth utilization is low?

How is it low?  You're using 70%!

> Just want to understand and be able to pinpoint when and what should
> upgrade to 1Gbps.

Now, to be clear, simply poping in a Gb NIC will not necessarily give you a Gigabit connection - you need to make sure your switch can handle it.

And think of it like this - if you have a server with a 100Mbit NIC and you have 5 people access it simultaneously, each user an only get about 20% of the bandwidth - meaning each user will download files and needed information at about 2.0-2.5 Mbit/sec.  For word documents this is not generally an issue, but for larger documents, say a power point presentation with several video clips, this can mean 5-30 seconds of waiting - or longer.

No, with a 1000 Mbit (1gb) connection on the server, that means that as many as 10 clients can access the server and potentially get full speed access to the server so that same powerpoint presentation opens in 1-5 seconds instead of 5-30+.  Now there are other bottlenecks to keep in mind - disk fragmentation.  a slow disk subsystem (using NO RAID or RAID 5 as compared to RAID 10 or 7200 RPM disks instead of 15000 RPM disks)

Cheers!
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Author Comment

by:YankeeFan03
ID: 17827123
thank you this makes sense?

however, if my network utilization on the server a is at 70% would that not suggest that all client access is retrieving data at full capacity otherwise, would the server not show 100% network utilization?
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 17827182
Which is it - is you network CONSTANTLY at 70% or is it AVERAGING 70%?  If it's averaging 70%, then you are almost certainly experiencing periods where utilization is 100% and users are not getting their data at the fastest possible speeds.

In addition, it could be a problem with your switch backplane (what it's switching capacity is) or it could be a problem with the drivers on the server's NIC as to why it's not feeding data at 100% and topping out at 70%.  Or it could be a problem with contention for disk time if you have MANY users accessing the server at the same time.
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Author Comment

by:YankeeFan03
ID: 17827405
I see what you are saying, i peak about 70% according to perfmon on windows.
the average is lower.
So if my network Utlization never reaches 100% according to the max ratings on perfmon then upgrading to 1Gbps would not matter because the current pipe is able to handle all requests.
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Accepted Solution

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pjtemplin earned 500 total points
ID: 17827483
Assuming it "never reaches 100%", that doesn't mean it can handle all requests well.  If you're seeing 70% utilization, realize that Ethernet can't slow down, so 70% of the time the network is at 100% utilization.  That means a near 70% chance that packets are getting queued for delivery.
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Expert Comment

by:p_davis
ID: 17827710
just a note-- i will have to find the link to back it up -- but from microsoft-- to truely utilize a gigabit lan you have to have at least 25 nodes.- you will still see an improvement but nowhere near a true gig.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 17829731
.... so my comments were of no assistance to you?
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