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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, My school infrastucture - whats wrong with this picture? in Technical; Hi guys, I am just about to propose to SMT upgrade suggestions for improvements to existing network. My main problems ...
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    Angry My school infrastucture - whats wrong with this picture?

    Hi guys, I am just about to propose to SMT upgrade suggestions for improvements to existing network.

    My main problems include: Users in Senior School find system very slow at times and comms cabinet needs reset on occasions. I think another Server is needed in Senior building to replicate that of SERVER 1 in Junior building.

    At certain times - Success Maker runs really slow and crashes.

    Can someone advise before it gets to the point where nothing works.

    All suggestions welcome.

    See attached MAP for details,

    Thanks -GMAN
    (Work is the curse of the drinking classes)
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    I'm not sure that adding an extra server in the senior school is the best solution to this. Replication would be difficult - and is just a hassle that you shouldn't need to bother with.

    If the fibre link is performing correctly, there shouldn't be a particular problem. You need to establish what speed the fibre link is running at. Ideally it should be at least 1GB, you might run into performance problems if it's anything less.

    Since you mention performance issues in the Senior School and (presumably) not the Junior School, it makes sense to start investigating the problem by looking at the fibre link. Also you mention you have to keep resetting equipment in the comms cabinet? That shouldn't happen - our comms cabs run for months or even years without being reset. Maybe you've got a faulty switch/fibre converter or some other item of equipment that needs to be replaced in there.

    Also, ICT Suites 5 & 6 in the Senior school - are they wireless because they're laptops? If they're fixed desktop PCs, then they shouldn't be wireless. Get them wired to the correct standards and you will see a significant performance improvement in those rooms.

    What spec are your existing servers? Perhaps they need to be upgraded? Reasonably modern servers shouldn't really have any problems supporting 175 clients.

    I would recommend that you focus on your existing infrastructure rather than thinking about adding additional servers.

    Peter

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    I'd agree with PeterH - it feels like there's something wrong with the link or the switch.

    Can you get some throughput numbers when no-one is using the system (copy a big ISO image, for example, directly from server1 to server 2 to get a speed within the junior school and then copy the same file from the server to a machine in the senior school). If the link is supposed to be (say) 100Mbit and you don't get that speed then investigate why.

    Try copying between two machines in the senior school - again, this should give you a feel for what your network speed is in that building.

    What you're trying to do is find out which bits are OK and which bits aren't - you can then focus on those.

    How old is the fibre link? if it's a few years old, it's possible that it's got 10Mbit end gear and that will be a real bottleneck!

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    Load Balancing

    Thanks guys for your comments, acquired some cisco switches which I mentioned in another post, that should help abit. I will test the fibre tomorrow, but I do know it is approx 6 years old if that makes things a bit clearer. ICT Rooms 5 and 6 are laptops.

    Is there no load balancing techniques that might help? DFS

    GMAN

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    Just so we can get a clear picture. Are we talking about two buildings on the same campus linked by your own fibre or separate campuses linked by a leased line?

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    Yes K.C.L, One school, 2 Sites, a senior and junior building. (Approx 5 min stroll away)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gman View Post
    Thanks guys for your comments, acquired some cisco switches which I mentioned in another post, that should help abit. I will test the fibre tomorrow, but I do know it is approx 6 years old if that makes things a bit clearer. ICT Rooms 5 and 6 are laptops.

    Is there no load balancing techniques that might help? DFS

    GMAN
    Getting new switches won't help if there was nothing wrong with the old ones!

    The fibre being old doesn't matter (as far as I know, fibre itself has a very long life) but it's possible that the end gear has failed. I've seen media converters apparently slow down and this is where you need to know what your "good" traffic rate is. For example, if you can schedule a task to run at (say) 0700 each day copying a big file from senior to junior and store the times it takes then you can easily see if something changes with time and deal with it.

    Load balancing might help but if response is good at one end of the link but not the other then it doesn't feel like that's the problem.

    Using DFS is a good idea for other reasons - it does give you some resilience if a server fails, for example, and it makes it easier to keep consistent names for shares (because they are \\<domain>\<share> instead of \\<server>\<share>)

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    Could you not simply move one of your servers to the senior school? and see if things improve?

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    PS Also some years ago I had the same type of problem with a switch ... Have you tried the latest firmware upgrades for your switches? Mine would run ok for a while then give problems that only a power down/up would cure .. I upgraded the firmware and all was sorted ....

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    I would certainly consider a second DC at the senior end.

    Having a easier accessible dc/dns/dhcp would help things I'm sure - and was the setup at my last school, which was in pretty much the same state (although we upgraded our fibre link from 10mb to 100mb to great effect..)

    As for success maker, thats always got issues from my experience

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    You have 100 clients listed at the remote end how many switches do you have there and how are they connected? are they all stacked?

    Ben

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    btw, optical fibre has a working life of ~20 years.

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    I would mirror the ideas of most here, look at the fibre. Find out what speed it is running at and also if there any additional fibre pairs avalible as the fibre cable may contain more unused pairs that could be brought into service to aid the speed.

    Depending on your budget and the switches that you have / are getting I would look at upgrading the fibre to at least 1GBs if it is not already, 10GBs if you have the money, gear and support as you should be able to do this on the existing fibre with just a transciver upgrade. If there are aditional pairs avalible I would look at making them live (assuming this is owned not leased fibre) this will give you redundancy and a speed boost.

    I would check the existing fibre link by going into the switches managment interface if avalible and looking for send/recive errors on the fibre port, idealy there should be none. Errors on the line will slow it down and possibly mess with data. This can be caused by faulty transcivers, bad terminations on the patch leads or the fibre itself or even dirt/dust in the connectors. If replacing the transcivers did not get rid of the errors I would look into getting a fibre specialist in to test the line and find the problem.


    Network gear should not crash, I have had switches with uptimes of several years only brought down by power cuts. You need to look into what is causing this, bad gear or a bad envirnment like high heat or bad power and solve these issues if it is not simply the gear.

    A new server could benifit you but you would want it to take over the bandwidth intensive rolls like logons and documents shareing for the senior school. If the successmaker server is overloaded then perhaps it could be replaced/upgraded aswell.

    Wireless is junk for large scale implementations if it is not managed and even then it is not as fast as wired networks. If at all possible get those other suites back on to wired because it is infanatly more dependable and responcive than wireless.

    The other thing that you might look at in the worst case scenario that the above changes are not supported by the school is moving all/most of the servers to the senior school as there appears to be more workstations there than in the junior school.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 6th February 2009 at 01:57 PM.

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    gman (9th February 2009)

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    Speed Tests

    Hi Guys, Got round to testing network speed this morning in College.

    Took a 550mb iso files and copied across network. Here are results:

    During School Time

    From Senior School to Junior Server - 1min 50 sec
    From Junior Server1 to Junior Server 2 - 1min 35 sec

    After School

    From Senior School to Junior Server - 1 min 20 sec
    From Junior Server1 to Junior Server 2 - 1min 10sec

    Is this a 10meg fibre we are using then?

    Cheers
    Gary
    "Work is the curse of the drinking classes"

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    Quote Originally Posted by gman View Post
    Is this a 10meg fibre we are using then?
    Possibly a 100MBit fibre, it is difficult to tell as it looks like your server could be running 100MBit also so that is another bottleneck in the system. The best way to find out the rated link speed is to get into the web managment interface of one or both of the switches that have the fibre and check directly. If you need a hand getting into the manament interface I'm sure that someone here can provide some pointers if you post the brand and model of the switch that you want to get in to.

    It will be worth checking out each of the servers to determine if they have gigabit network cards and also if they are running at 1gbit (make sure that 1gbit cards are not in 100mbit ports of switches).

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