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Network Redesign Challenge

By sarsone ·
Current Network Configuration:

1-Novell 5.1 server with 3 NICs 192.168.1.2, 2.2, 3.2, routing enabled, DNS/DHCP, Printing, SQL Database, SPX/IP

3 Network Segements 192.168.1.0, 2.0, 3.0 with mask 255.255.255.0

1- Win 2k email server setup with IMAIL 192.168.1.3

Each segment has 2-3COM 3300 switches with matrix cables, managed

Default router to internet is 192.168.1.1 (seg. 1)

Questions:

1. Would it make more sense to flatten the network down to 1 segment since there are only about a total of 125 pc's and network devices.
2. Would flattening the network increase or decrease network perfomance as well as server performance. ie, removeing routing on the server should improve server performance right?, but would flattening it increase network performance issues?
3. Users currently on segment 2 & 3 need to travel through segment 1 to get to the internet, this obviously increases performance issues on segment 1

History: Original network design was with 6 hubs, 2 on each segment, this was why the segments were created to eliminiate some of the broadcast traffic. The hubs were replaced by switches earlier this year.

What would be the optimal network redesign with this hardware?

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Network Redesign Challenge

by mshavrov In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

The answer is in your Novell server. Check it's CPU, memory and network utilization. Test network connectivity to the same Internet resources from all segment and check if you have a big difference. Check if you have any kind of "bussiness logic" ofsplitting your network to segments except of "broadcast domains".

Sure, with this number of of network hosts it would be better to have one flat network. It will remove extra load from Novell server (it looks like it has much to do even without IP/IPX routing). So,

1. Connect your router, servers and another switches to one switch. It will be "core" switch.

2. Connect users to "access layer" switches.

3. Perform appropriate changes in DHCP scopes (DNS, default gateway (192.168.1.1),etc.).

But again, check if you have any hardly coded addressed or permissions for "obsolete" networks. And schedule this to do "after hours" or at weekend to have time to "roll-back" in case if something goes wrong.

Good luck.

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Network Redesign Challenge

by sarsone In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

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Network Redesign Challenge

by road-dog In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

You are correct in your assertion that using the server to route is cpu/resource intensive. I cannot surmise if flattening your network is a good idea from an organizational & security standpoint.

Ordinarily, I do not advocate throwing hardware at problems, but I suspect that a router might be a good idea for you. Look at the Cisco 36XX series or the Nortel ASN. Both will route at wire speed on 4 or more fast-E interfaces

If you can, set up the router to kill rips/saps on the inter network links. Be sure to remove internetwork routing on the server, or you will have problems, (been there fixed that, made a buttload of money).

Also, if you do a network redesign, clean up those IPX frametypes. Find one that works on all platforms/apps and use it exclusively. If not, you will rip , sap, and route every frame type as a separate network.

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Network Redesign Challenge

by sarsone In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

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Network Redesign Challenge

by Jose Mir In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

Using the same hardware:
You can stack all the 3Com switches and go to a 1 segment schema, while keeping the 3 NICs in the server doing Load Balancing. If IPX load balance is enough you should have no problem. If you want to load balance TCP/IP youwill need third party products (Intel has something approved by Novell).
If at least one of your 3Coms switches has 1000Base-T port, USE IT! (if you have 3 of these ports you will be able to make load balancing on this speed).
BUT, if you can not do load balancing (because of TCP/IP and do not have budget for third party products) and your CPU utilization rate, in the server, is not too high, and you have enough RAM to enable more cache buffers (or already have enough) I suggest to continue in the current configuration, because removing the routing service in the Netware server will not affect, by itself, performance in a sensitive way (unless the use of the Internet is excessive).
If you have a small budget to use in redesigning the network, I suggest you to use it in providing 1000Base-T capability to the 3Com stack (by buying the proper model or replacing one of the actual switches); in this case migrate to 1 segment regardless CPU and RAM of the server.

Regards,

Jose P Mir
jpm@jpmir.net

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Network Redesign Challenge

by sarsone In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

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Network Redesign Challenge

by isys In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

I'm running Netware 4.11 but my hardware is the same as yours. Have you set your 3300s to full duplex? Be sure the hubs/switches they feed are also set full duplex or they will not communicate. I have two FX switches feeding hubs with fiber modules and one TX switch that services the servers and the Internet router, all connected with matrix cables. If you are set up for IP on your server you could also have your Internet router take over network routing. Look into VLANS on your switches to take some of the traffic load. Taking the routing duties off your server will increase its performance and creating VLANs on your switches will cut down on traffic.

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Network Redesign Challenge

by sarsone In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

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Network Redesign Challenge

by sarsone In reply to Network Redesign Challeng ...

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