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Old 05-19-10, 11:47 AM   #1
FastRedPonyCar
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Default NIC teaming - Help me setup

I just got a new server at work for imaging workstations. It's a fully loaded Dell T7500 with server 2008.

It only has one internal NIC (Broadcom netxtreme 57XX) and I've added a PCI Intel pro 1000 MT nic in hopes of teaming these to distribute images via norton ghost faster than with a single nic.

The nic's are hooked to a cisco catalyst 2950 switch.

Are there any guides or resources online that would tell me what all has to be done to get this fully setup and operating the way I'm hoping it can?


My ultimate goal here is to cut down the length of time it takes to capture and send images to and from the server/desktops/laptops. As it is, it takes about 45 minutes to capture an image to the server or send one to a PC. If I capture or send to/from a USB drive attached to the system, it takes around 10 minutes. My goal is to get imaging performance over LAN similar to that and I don't know what the bottle neck is.

The new server has a pair of xeon quad cores, 24 gigs of ram and 4 15K rpm SAS drives in a pair of raid 0 configurations so I can only assume that the server hardware isn't the bottleneck.

All the lan cables are cat 6 as well.

This is the switch

http://www.restockit.com/Cisco-Catal...filiateprogram

Is the switch itself to blame? I'm sure if I ask nicely they'll get me a gigabit switch but ONLY if I truly HAVE to have it to achieve my goal here.
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Old 05-19-10, 12:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: NIC teaming - Help me setup

Why are you using a workstation as a server?
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Old 05-19-10, 12:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: NIC teaming - Help me setup

You're going to be far better off with a Gigabit switch than teamed 10/100. The switch DOES support 802.3ad, so that's a good thing, but I just don't know how significant the benefit would truly be with the hassle.

Your server (desktop) is more than capable. Sazar, he's probably using the workstation since this is a desktop support role. And to get that amount of power rack mounted and redundant would have run another $2K.
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Old 05-19-10, 05:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: NIC teaming - Help me setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Q View Post
You're going to be far better off with a Gigabit switch than teamed 10/100. The switch DOES support 802.3ad, so that's a good thing, but I just don't know how significant the benefit would truly be with the hassle.

Your server (desktop) is more than capable. Sazar, he's probably using the workstation since this is a desktop support role. And to get that amount of power rack mounted and redundant would have run another $2K.
Well a 2950 should have 2 GBIC ports on it, so I'm assuming he's using those. EDIT: Yea I see 2 ports on the switch.

I can tell you from experience though that ghosting will never go as fast as your hardware can. I've used SGSS 2.5 with the Vista PE boot disc between a pair of Q6600, 780i, 2 x raid 0 HDD on a gigabit switch and can only top out at ~ 3000MB / Min using an uncompressed setting. That equates to about 50MBps. I can do a regular file transfer in Windows and push the connection to max.


If you could provide a little more info that would be very helpful though. What are you backing up and to what? What compression settings, what exact version of ghost, what is the average amount of data on the clientside, how many pcs are you sending to at a time etc...


Let's say I'm backing up an C2D E6600 machine on a 10/100 network. Using fast compression that puts it around 700MB/Min on the clientside, and 560MB / Min on the server. That is the absolute max the 10/100 connection can handle, and if you go into task manager on the server, the networking tab is going to show about 100% usage nonstop.

EDIT:
So if I read what your saying correctly, your backing up an approximately 15GB image of a workstation to that server, and the workstation would have to be on a 10/100 port.

100mbps port tops out at 12.5MBps theoretical, but more like 10MBps. USB 2.0 is right around 30MBps actual limit, so no matter what you did USB will be 3x faster than using a 100mbps port. Keep in mind that if you throw the server on a gigabit port, the transfer is still limited to 100mbps unless the client is also on a gigabit port.
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Old 05-19-10, 07:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: NIC teaming - Help me setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bman212121 View Post
100mbps port tops out at 12.5MBps theoretical, but more like 10MBps. USB 2.0 is right around 30MBps actual limit, so no matter what you did USB will be 3x faster than using a 100mbps port. Keep in mind that if you throw the server on a gigabit port, the transfer is still limited to 100mbps unless the client is also on a gigabit port.
This....

The most I've ever seen a 100Mbps connection peak was around 12-13MB/s. If all the workstations have 10/100 NIC's then thats as fast as the images can be deployed/created.
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Old 05-20-10, 04:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: NIC teaming - Help me setup

I've got them getting me a new switch with 12~24 gigabit ports.

All the machines we image have built in gigabit ethernet ports.

I'm backing up with norton ghost 11 using high compression.

I'm not sure what the average total amount of data uncompressed clientside is but the folders for each machine with the ghost files are typically 8~9.5 gigs total size.
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Old 05-21-10, 02:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: NIC teaming - Help me setup

EDIT: Oh yea, I thought of a couple deal breakers when ghosting. Make sure you do not have an 10mbit devices on your network, because of the way ghost works it will automatically slow down the transfer to not flood the slowest device. Everything needs to be 100mbit full duplex. We used to unplug printers when we ghosted because it causes stuff to take a whole lot longer. Another thing that I've noticed is that newer pcs with WOL enabled, when they are powered off with drop the nic to 10mbit to save power. This also has caused slowdowns. If you simply turn the pc on it will fix the problem. This only applies when using multicast. If you use an unicast session you can get around this issue.

I ran some tests today and have some interesting numbers.

Using the Vista PE ghost disc versus the standard pc dos discs I was saving over 2 minutes copying a 7800MB image. It does however take about a minute longer for the disc to startup, but if you have a large install you should save a little bit of time.

Using high compression to create the image it takes:

Vista PE boot disc

Gigabit - 7:00

100mbit - 7:36

Ghost 11 PC dos

gigabit - 9:04

100mbit - 10:08

Fast compression:

Vista PE boot disc

Gigabit - 4:26

100mbit - 7:53

Ghost 11 PC dos

gigabit - 6:41

100mbit - 10:36

Fast compression is approx 25% larger file size over high compression. On a 100mbit network the time is not much less at all. Using a gigabit network fast compression is much quicker.


For sending the image from the server to the client, here are the numbers I came up with. I have only done numbers for fast compression so far.

Fast Compression:

Vista PE boot disc

Gigabit - 5:13

100mbit - 13:09

Ghost 11 PC dos

gigabit - 9:04

100mbit - 11:06

GH11 high comp 100mbit - 9:41

Sending seems to go better with the older discs on a 100mbit network. Using gigabit I can transfer much faster.

Taking my numbers and doing a little math here is what I'm coming up with.

Using GH11 PC dos, high compression, on a 100mbit network I could create an 8500MB image on the server side (18,200MB client) in 23 minutes. Sending that back out to a pc should be almost identical times. I'm using a laptop as my server so you should have no issues keeping up with your server. To me it sounds like another issue is present since it takes 2x as long to create the same thing.

If you could I would simply test using a crossover cable hooked directly to a pc. That's what I'm using right now to test. It can help eliminate any switch issues you might have. It would also get you a good baseline for gigabit transfers without having to have a switch.

One thing I will note is that I have some weird issue present on my laptop when ghosting. Sometimes while restoring an image everything is going smooth and if I'm watching the network chart I'm bouncing between 0 and 25% usage on a gig connection. Then all of the sudden it slows down to approx 3% usage and just rides that out for the rest of the session. If you watch your network tab in task manager it should give some good insight. Using high compression I can peak at 100% on a 100mbit and it will average 60% or more. If you're only ever using 30 - 50% of your 100mbit connection then something is wrong.
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