Network Performance: Hardware Bottlenecks

One of the most common network bottlenecks are your server hardware. Your servers should be powerful computers capable of handling all the work your network will throw at them. Don’t cut corners by using a bottom-of-the-line computer that you bought at a discount computer store.

The following are the four most important components of your server hardware:

  • Processor: Your server should have a powerful processor. As a general rule, any processor that’s available in a $500 computer from a store that sells TVs and washing machines as well as computers is not a processor that you want to see in your file server. In other words, avoid processors that are designed for consumer-grade home computers. For optimum performance, your servers should use server-class Itanium or Xeon processors.

  • Memory: You can’t have too much memory. Memory is cheap, so don’t skimp. Don’t even think about running a server with less than 8GB of RAM.

  • Disk: Don’t mess around with inexpensive SATA hard drives. To be respectable, you should have nothing but SCSI drives.

  • Network interface: A $9.95 network card might be fine for your home network, but don’t use one in a file server that supports 50 users and then expect to be happy with the server’s performance. Remember that the server computer uses the network a lot more than any of the clients, so equip your servers with good network cards.