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I have just inherited a network at my work- 1 primary server and about 65 computers running XP. All machines have Gigabit ethernet cards and all are connected through Gigabit switches and cat. 6 cables. The workstations send large numbers of image files to the server where they are held until they need to go to a printer. And I'm talking Gigs of files. We get a network slowdown when large number of files are coming from the workstations at the same time large numbers are also going the the printers. All machines have to be on the same subnet because of some proprietary software. Is there anything I can do to lessen this logjam? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Do you know for sure what is causing the network slowdown? Do your switches have some kind of monitoring tools such as sFlow or NetFlow that can definitively prove what the slowdown is? Perhaps it's just the server's response that is slow if multiple PCs are hitting it at once and the LAN itself is relatively clear. Run diagnostics on the network and then the server to see what is causing it and then we can better help you with a possible solution. –  Wesley Jan 1 '11 at 19:29
    
Nobody has asked what the specifications of this so-called "server". What are they? –  SpacemanSpiff Jan 2 '11 at 2:21

2 Answers 2

You basically have three general options to solve the problem:

  1. Distribute the load. This can be done by either adding servers or NICs on the server (requires the the workstations know how to connect to multiple servers)

  2. Make the workstations send less data (maybe print in different format, or at lower resolution, etc.)

  3. Allow the server to handle more capacity (e.g. add a 10G NIC, or bond serveral NICs together)

Of course, all of the above assumes that the slowdown is actually cause by congestion on the network, and not a result of something else going on (like the server doesn't have enough CPU or RAM, or fast enough disks to keep up with the incoming load).

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Can you install more network cards into the server?

See this TechRepublic Tutorial for an example.

This will distribute the load - certainly of the incoming files.

However, as others have pointed out, check that this is really the bottleneck first.

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