Growing a business, small and medium businesses and enterprises (SMB/e) are continually:
- Increasing the number of computers and workstations
- Switching to faster servers and workstations
- Using new and improved data-hungry applications
All burden the LAN backbone, consuming its safeguard margins, and making it vulnerable to changes. Network components become more dependent on each other, and patching in one place may only be a temporary solution. Analyzing the performance of the network core is the first step. In many cases SMB/e customers must improve the speed and bandwidth of their core networks and increase its margins by upgrading the network infrastructure with a better, more efficient and robust backbone.
Selecting the architecture for the network core has become more challenging than ever. The changing business environment, application demands, and technology forecasts make it difficult to choose solutions that address current needs whilst providing sufficient capacity and growth for unknown future requirements. There are several ways SMB/e can build a backbone; each has its strengths and weaknesses.
A Central Chassis with high concentration has a central location for easy management and maintenance. This solution, often called a collapsed backbone, has several drawbacks, in addition to being costly. Although a large chassis has many configuration options, it still has limited flexibility compared to a backbone built from diverse components that fit specific user requirements for connectivity, speed, performance and interfaces. Additionally, a central box makes the entire network vulnerable to single point failures: hardware, software, maintenance, and upgrades. Increasing chassis availability, is exponentially more costly compared to availability achieved in a distributed solution.
A Decentralized Backbone with multiple small-to-medium switches/routers that are distributed within the network, and are connected via various speed/distance/interfaces. This approach significantly increases the network's availability and reduces cost. However, it is also more difficult to manage components that are distributed.
A Stack is probably the best of both worlds in terms of cost/availability and manageability. This solution consists of multiple independent components that are connected together in one place to provide performance, redundancy, failover, efficient management, and low cost.
At the core level, Ethernet became the most common interconnection between the collapsed backbone router or the distributed backbone and the rest of the network infrastructure. There are many options that can take the load off the router and optimize overall network bandwidth. With Fiber connectivity using Gigabit Ethernet, users can substantially increase bandwidth, distance, and redundancy where needed. Gigabit Ethernet is also available in copper interfaces. These options come with managed and unmanaged switches, and other features. SMB/e customers finally have the ability to combine and aggregate Ethernet ports for higher bandwidth and faster throughput (multi-port trunking) as they need. Nonblocking switching technology delivers wire-speed throughput to all network users, end-to-end. For future expansion, these scalable solutions fit perfectly into next generation technology of higher speed Ethernet and networking.
Choosing the right backbone components that fit the user's needs for today and tomorrow while optimizing performance, availability, management, and cost is challenging. This formidable task can be made considerably easier with the right advice from experts like SMC and SMC integrators.