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Wireless Networks Thread, Recommendations for improvements on my network in Technical; Time has come around where money is available for infrastructure again, and while there are a few things that need ...
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    Recommendations for improvements on my network

    Time has come around where money is available for infrastructure again, and while there are a few things that need to be done (eg servers out of warranty) everything is pretty much open to suggestion.

    Problems currently - lack of storage mostly. network speed (though this is recent, and I think down to something faulty somewhere)
    Users - 1700 students, 200 staff. Clients - around 900 (roughly 50/50 split between desktops and laptops)

    Infrastructure:

    - Procurve 5406ZL Core switch (this certainly is ok!)
    1GB links to all servers, 1GB links to all edge switches

    - 2x Dual Xeon (circa 2006) generic servers, 4GB RAM, 500ish GB of storage, RAID-5, 10k SAS Disks
    Both of these are DC's, DNS Servers and DHCP, and one holds student profiles/data, the other for staff. The staff one is critically full.

    - 1x Very recent Poweredge 2950, over 1Tb of storage (RAID-5), SAS, 4GB RAM
    Used for shared area and application storage/deployment/hosting. Storage around half full.

    - 1x Dell poweredge 1950, 4GB RAM, small amount of storage
    Used for Sophos & printers

    - 1x 5yr old dual Xeon generic server, 2GB RAM, 400GBish RAID-5, SCSI disks
    Used for some apps, WSUS, ghost image storage. This one has to go really, its massive, out of warranty and struggling a bit

    - 1x Dell Powerdge SC1420 (I think) tower, Single Xeon, 2GB RAM, 2TB Storage (RAID-5), SATA Disks
    Connected to a LTO-3 Tape drive
    Used for D-D-T backups. This pretty much needs to be replaced if any other storage is increased.

    Aside from that we have the SIMS server and an old poweredge I use for virtualisation, but they're not really relevant to this.

    So, what to change? Like I said, the main issue is storage, so the obvious answer is a SAN. But I'm still not sure we're ready for that, especially as I am going to be away the entire of the summer, there really just isnt time for such a big change this year.

    I was thinking to get a dedicated staff storage server, and go for capacity rather than speed, eg 7k SATA drives rather then 10k or 15k SAS. But would the difference be noticable? Can a single or dual 1GB connection get near the speed of the faster drives anyway?

    Then as well as that, perhaps one or two, very quick, dedicated DC's, doing nothing else
    Do many of you have dedicated ones? Or do the DC's also handle user data storage?

    Then, the current staff server would replace the 5 year old generic one.

    Backup, not really such a problem, just a fairly powerful server with as much cheap storage I can get in it. Should I consider a LTO-3 autoloader to replace the current drive? If only for the fact it'd stop me having to remember to swap tapes...but a full backup is only 2 or 3

    Network wise, I want all servers to have dual 1GB links, but thats not a big problem.

    Any other suggestions? Money isnt tight, but it isnt unlimited
    Last edited by sidewinder; 31st March 2009 at 11:44 AM.

  2. #2

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    There is no point in using SAS drives for file servers because your 1GBps is the bottleneck.
    SAS drives are only normally used in high I/O applications such as email servers.

    I believe your on the right lines with the SAN, check out the EMC AX4. I would look at VMware ESX with vmotion if you implement a SAN. backup should also be a lot less painful if you attach a fiber channel tape auto loader to your SAN.

    Network have you segmented your LAN using VLAN and implemented redundant links?

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