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HP Procurve Topology and cabling advice

Posted on 2007-12-06
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I have 2 HP ProCurve switches and need some cabling advice.  I'm trying to enable the most efficient network with the best throughput.

The network supports 40 users and 3 servers.  The users' workstations are all operating at 100MB through an HP ProCurve 4000m switch (which has a card with one Gigabit port).  The servers are all connected to an unmanaged HP ProCurve Gigabit switch.  Two of the three servers have dual network cards and I have them homed to a single IP address in each server.  One server has a single network card.  All network cards are Gigabit and all servers network cards are plugged into the Gigabit switch.  A single certified CAT6 cable connects the two switches from the Gigabit port on the ProCurve 4000m to a Gigabit port on the Gigabit switch.  The crossover is controlled by the auto-sensing port on the Gigabit switch.

I run a single private subnet (172.16.0.x) and isolated the servers on the Gigabit switch to gain better network throughput during my overnight backup cycle.  Because theres only one cable between the two switches, all users who open files from the server (every user all the time) are experiencing data flow through a single cable and there is a single point of failure.

Im generally satisfied with the speed and observe few collisions, but Im no thrilled with depending on one cable between the two switches.  Ive never had a failure and Ive never had a problem, but Im suspicious that this setup is not as efficient as it could be.

For the two servers with dual network cards, would I be better off plugging one card into the 100MB switch and 1 card into the Gigabit switch?  Is there a better setup that I havent contemplated?  Thanks in advance for your help.
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Question by:janeedles
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pseudocyber earned 125 total points
ID: 20420236
Hi,

The only changes I would suggest are:
1.) Change the copper backbone to a fiber backbone for better throughput.
2.) Add redundancy - add a second copper or a second fiber - depending on the technology you use (port aggregation/bonding vs. Spanning Tree) you could realize better statistical throuput and fault tolerance/resiliency.  

I would NOT connect two servers to two different switches unless you have technology which helps do this (Cisco: Switch Assisted Load Balancing, Nortel: Split Multi Link Trunking).  Unless you carefully and purposefully configure it, it would be very easy to introduce a loop into your network if the two network cards were inadvertently bridged.

Do you KNOW you have a problem, or you're just looking to improve your topology?
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by:from_exp
ID: 20420897
almost agree with pseudocyber

but if cat 6 cable is short enough (3-5 meters), fiber will add only problems, but not performance, especially if you have no fiber ports on your switch (you'll be forced to use MediaConvertors, that can hang up (more equipment greater possibility of failure) and fiber patch cord is more vulnerable to physical damage.

in your case redundancy can be archived by holding spare 24 port switch offline.

And as pseudocyber mentioned it is not recommended to connect one multihomed pc to two different switches, especially when one of them is unmanaged

As for conclusion - your topology is correct and most efficient.

But if you want to upgrade - pseudocyber's second proposal should be taken into account
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