I'm having a bit of an issue here.
Our core switch is just a gigabit 3Com switch, that when it was purchased was good enough to do the the job it was needed for, but now the head of IT has changed his course 4 times in 5 years and the pupils are now editing videos for the course. This means that up to 52 kids could be accessing the same video and editing it at the same time, which slows the network down. We have a 1Gbs link from the fileserver to the core switch, a 1gbs link to the switch that the client PC's are on then a 100mbs link to the client PC's.
I'm thinking of purchasing a decent core switch, something that isn't £250, that we can manage properly. Now ths is where i'm just guessing, so please tell me if i'm wrong, I have been reading about link aggregation, or teaming which ever you want to call it, and was thinking of doing the following.
having our fileserver with 4 nics and team them up to make a 4gbs nic, then team the ports on a switch that our servers connect to to mirror this. Then connecting the server switch to our core switch with a team of at least 4Gbs. I was then thinking of purchasing 2 new 48 port switches for our 2 IT suites and teaming either 2 or 4 ports together and connecting them to the core switch.
So if i'm right it will be like this,
Server -4Gbs- Switch -4Gbs- Core -either 2Gbs or 4Gbs- ICT Suite switch
Does this sound like a plan to help speed things up? Is it possible and will it work?
Also, can anyone recommend some decent switches that I can use for this if it will work? We are running 3Com at the moment, but if all goes well I may be replacing all the switches we have, but the ICT suites are the most important at the moment.
Personally running our main file storage of a single 1GB link and we have about 400 people accessing this at once - up to 500 max, including the media editing students. Access is quick, no noticable speed degradation during the most busy times. I'll likely make this a 2GB link soon, but it's highly unlikely you need anything more than that unless you have a particularly large amount of students/machines. If you have X amount of kids accesing X server at once you also need to factor in the disk reads/writes on the server, as they're a likely bottleneck on per user access speeds.
On most school networks a 1GB/s link doesn't get fully saturated, 2GB/s is a good idea in areas with alot of machines or for file servers, teamed ports isn't necessary in most situations though, let alone 4GB/s. Best bet is to do some research into the current network usage and find the specific bottleneck to ensure that it is definitely the problem. If i'm wrong i'll eat my hat (obviously depends on the setup and size of your network as to whether i am right though )
Also your best off getting a single quad port NIC rather than 4 seperate NICs.
EDIT: im guessing if your using a £250 core switch it's probably not a very big network? We're running on a HP8206zl here which cost us a little over £10k, though we have quite a complicated VLAN setup...which i'd recommend if your not doing that already!
Thanks for that, i''l take a look at what may be causing the bottleneck. Thinking about what you said about the 4 port nic, it makes sense, rather than use 4 seperate nics.
We have about 350 machines on the curric network, so I could do with a better core switch, it was purchased at the time as a 24 port gigabit switch so we could have 1Gbs uplink from our edge switches and 1Gbs links to the servers. Our link to the desktops is 100Mbs.
Can anyone suggest a good core switch that would run at at least 1Gbs, i've started to look at Cisco now as they don't seem to be as expensive as HP, and we don't have much money.
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