Less obvious is what to do with the servers. Group file servers on subnets and multi-homed servers offer only partial solutions\(em\&many other types of servers do not lend themselves to a decentralized model, and tend to collect on another, well-connected but overloaded Ethernet. The higher speed of FDDI seems to offer an easy solution, but in practice both expense and interoperability problems render FDDI a poor choice. Ethernet switches appear to permit cheaper and more reliable networking to the servers while providing an aggregate network bandwidth greater than a simple Ethernet.
This paper studies the evolution of the server networks at SLAC. Difficulties encountered in the deployment of FDDI are described, as are the tools and techniques used to characterize the traffic patterns on the server network. Performance of Ethernet, FDDI, and switched Ethernet networks is analyzed, as are reliability and maintainability issues for these alternatives. The motivations for re-designing the SLAC general server network to use a switched Ethernet instead of FDDI are described, as are the reasons for choosing FDDI for the farm and firewall networks at SLAC. Guidelines are developed which may help in making this choice for other networks.
Presented at the 8th USENIX Large Installation System Administration (LISA VIII) Conference, San Diego, 19-23 September 1994. (Proceedings, PDF, PS.GZ)
Also published as SLAC-PUB-6567. (PDF, PS.GZ)
This work supported by the United States Department of Energy under contract number DE-AC03-76SF00515.
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