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Network Topology - Switch Arrangement

I am currently restructuring the network topology of a small office of approximately 100 nodes (and possibly soon another 50-60 for VoIP).  The current arrangement is 5 cascading switches in the following order:

(all Cisco Catalyst)
3550 - 24P
2960 - 48P PoE
2960 - 24P
2960 - 24P
2960 - 24P (not in use at this time)

A firewall is connected to the 3550 along with a few servers.  Some other servers using the extra Gb ports on some of the 2960's, and all switches are cascaded using their Gb ports.

Primary concern - I would like to get all high traffic servers on a single Gb switch (4-5 nodes)
Secondary concern - I think perhaps the switches should be connected to a single Gb switch instead of cascading

But budget is tight right now...and I was thinking of ordering the Cisco Catalyst 2960 8 port Gb switch and then connecting those 4 servers and uplinking the switches in a backbone format.  Does this sound like a reasonable approach and if so, will that 2960 8 port do the job?  It seems a bit light, doesnt even have a fan.
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aevegan
Asked:
aevegan
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1 Solution
 
sam0x01Commented:
I would question the need for change. If you are seeing bottlenecks in the current setup it would make sense to address those.

I work in a college where it is common to have 5 (2950) switches cascaded in a building with a fibre out.

If you find that the cascaded line is getting flooded with traffic or response is slow, then this would be an option to address it.

The only concern for using a 2960 as a distribution switch is I think it is meant to be an L2 access switch. If you have IP routing configured through the 3550 (a L3 switch), it may increase the number of switches from some stations to visit the firewall.
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aeveganAuthor Commented:
We're not using the L3 functions of the 3550.  Another possible option for us is to add the 8 port Gb switch to the second Gb port on the 3550, and put our server farm on that switch.  That should work OK, yeah?

What is the easiest way to check the throughput on the trunks?
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sam0x01Commented:
Probably the best way would be to patch all the switches to the 8 port 2960 using trunk ports and patching your highest load servers to primarily to whatever is remaining on the 8 port 2960, and the lower loads to the Gb ports on the other access switches.

Another question addresses the port monitoring (http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Networking_Hardware/Switches/Q_24737505.html)
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