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Increase Lan Speed to database

Windows 2003 SBS - serial ata 7200 HD
15 Clients all connected by 10/100 switch - Cat 5

I am looking to increase our access speed to a database on the sbs server. My plan was to install gigabit NIC cards and add a 1gigabit switch for all to connect to.

Will this make respond times faster for clients? Do I need to change the Cat5 cable also? Looking for recommendations on improving Lan speed.
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Daboys
Asked:
Daboys
2 Solutions
 
ruready511Commented:
Do you have CAT-5 or CAT-5e, because CAT-5e will support 1000Base-T (Gb) network speeds. Regular CAT-5 on a 1000Base-T network will be problematic.
I think your biggest problem is the RPM of the disk. If there are several 7200RPM drives in an array, you will be fine. But one drive, or any number of independent disks NOT in an array, is going to really slow down access speeds, especially if your connection involves multi-user concurrent access to the database.
Another thing you can do to help things along is to make sure your users are not opening files from across the network. Have them copy the files first to the local machine and then; a) re-upload the file to the file server, or b) sync the local copies with the source copy on the file server.

I hope this helps...
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DaboysAuthor Commented:
I have Cat 5e. What disk drives and raid setup do you recommend? We need about 50gig of space.
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ruready511Commented:
For your situation, I would reccomend getting 4 32GB IBM UltraStar 10000RPM hard drives set up in a RAID 5 configuration (with a hardware controller, you don't want to use software RAID on a server).
This should give you plenty of space and and room to grow; it will also provide very fast access to your database over the network (assuming Gb operating speeds).
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DaboysAuthor Commented:
Can you recommend a good raid hardware controller?
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YGregersenCommented:
Great point about the Hard Drive ruready511.

However, I could argue that for the amount of clients and connections that 4 Ultra SCSI drives would not be necessary. Plus, it puts Daboys' server down a long term hardware commitment into an expensive and narrow path. If the Database or anything else that server is hosting grows, 4/32 = 128GB of space is not going to last long. Going SATA gives the options of much bigger drives and they are usually significantly lower cost. Plus there are 10K RPM dives available in SATA options. But I guess its all about budget too.


Adding new gigabit NICS can help with overall overhead, especially if your folks are accessing other things on the LAN besides the database.. A lot of new NICS take less CPU overhead.
I would recommend getting a gigabit switch that can handle Jumbo packets also. Then you go into the hardware properties of the NIC and increase the packet size. Usually you can set it to near  twice the size. A newer switch will usually be helpful too because it can handle errors and collisions better.

How much RAM is on this server?

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ruready511Commented:
Adaptec and Intel make good controller cards, just make sure that you pay around $200 for one. You don't want to go cheap on something that's going to provide you with all your data and subsequent backups.
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robdcoyCommented:
You can also look into network teaming.  This is where you have two or more network cards acting as one logical connection.  There are a couple of modes that you can use; Fault Tolerance and Load Balancing.  You would want the Load Balancing.

Cheers,
Rob
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