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Currently, our small business is using 1Gbit Ethernet. We are a very data intensive shop and are currently running into bandwidth limitations between our individual machines and our RAID-based server. We are maxing out at ~108 MB/sec, which I understand is the maximum bandwidth for 1Gbit Ethernet.

Thus I am looking into whether it is possible for a small business to upgrade to a 10Gbit Ethernet. I was at the local hardware store and they don't sell 10Gbit Ethernet gear at all.

I am currently thinking that maybe it is just prohibitively expensive to upgrade to 10Gbit Ethernet for the time being.

Anyone have experience with rolling out a 10Gbit network using Ethernet or some other equivalent technology?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 13 '10 at 16:12

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Migration anomaly? Dupe of serverfault.com/questions/102342/… –  Adam Davis Jan 13 '10 at 16:18
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5 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Can't you consider using Link Aggregation before making the leap to 10GE?

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This is definitely the stepping stone that needs to be explored. From a cost point of view this should fit better with a small business as 10Gbit is still pricey. –  3dinfluence Jan 13 '10 at 16:21
    
Given the expense associated with 10Gbit ethernet, this is what I will be now exploring. Thanks for this. –  mindless_developer_man Jan 13 '10 at 16:51
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One point - Link Aggregation generally will not help if you need to stream more than 1 gigabit to/from a single client –  James Jan 13 '10 at 17:38
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@James: not true: it depends on the "flow profile" of the communication between the machines. The more unique flows, the more the "load balancing" algorithm can be effective. –  jldupont Jan 13 '10 at 18:37
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Change your main switch and server to 10Gbit. The workstations can continue to run at 1Gbit, and the server will be able to handle 10 workstations at their maximum.

Then measure the results and find out if you need to extend the 10Gbit to the workstations as well. I expect, for a small business, you won't need to, and this relatively small upgrade will increase overall network performance noticeably.

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10GE is still really expensive. I'd hold off for a year or so (at least) before making the jump.

And, like jldupont said, link aggregation can do wonders.

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10GbE NICs are quite cheap nowadays, switches however are not. Calculate like two grands for a NIC with optics and something like ten grands for a 16 port switch. And some grand for the cables.

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Do you mean 2k per NIC? I wouldn't consider that cheap. Just sayin'... –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jan 13 '10 at 16:26
    
I bought our 1gigabit ethernet NIC for $30/each and our 2 10 port 1gigabit switches for around $60 each. Thus $2000 per NIC and $10000 per switch is quite a bit more expensive -- almost 100x more expensive. –  mindless_developer_man Jan 13 '10 at 16:49
    
You can get decent (Myrinet) 10 gig NICs for $600 USD, optics are $250 USD. If you use copper CX4 rather than optics then it's even cheaper - but yes, there is still a substantial premium over gigabit. –  James Jan 13 '10 at 17:40
    
CX4 NICs and GBICs are cheaper, yes -- but the CX4 cables are substantially more expensive then ye good ole' fiber. –  pfo Jan 13 '10 at 20:02
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Check out the 10Gbps switches from Arista http://www.aristanetworks.com/ These are the same guys who originally designed the Cisco Catalyst series of switches.

I was quoted under $20K for a 48 port model about 6 months ago. Not bad pricing compared to the competition and I have no doubts about their technical competence to build a great switch.

They also have CAT5/6 models that can utilize your existing wiring although there are distance limits with copper wiring.

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For a small business that's outrageously expensive. –  Martijn Heemels Feb 18 '10 at 13:43
    
It all depends on your needs. If it's a small movie/video post production studio then 10Gbps will pay for itself in a matter of weeks. If it's a small architecture studio cranking out 2D drawings of office buildings on AutoCAD then 10GBps is a complete waste of money. –  Ausmith1 Feb 19 '10 at 1:57
    
did you buy an arista switch? If so, how is it? –  chris Aug 5 '10 at 17:06
    
Not yet, funding was spiked on the first go around. Maybe after Jan 1 2011... –  Ausmith1 Aug 26 '10 at 23:29
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