Tip

Enhance performance by creating a dedicated server backbone

Brien M. Posey

Have you ever looked at how much overhead traffic your servers are putting onto your network? If not, you might be surprised. Windows servers are constantly sending things like replication traffic and time syncs across the network. All of this traffic steals bandwidth from your other network nodes.

One way you can combat the problem is to create a dedicated server backbone. To do so, you must place two NICs into each server, and assign each NIC an independent IP address. The NIC that uses the server's original IP address should be connected to the network in the same way that it always was. The other NIC should be attached to a separate network that uses its own dedicated hub or switch that services only the servers.

Once you've configured your network in this way, the next step is to figure out which servers the end users access directly. If you have backend servers that are accessed only by administrators and

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by other servers, you can probably get away with disconnecting them from the main network so that they're attached only to the dedicated server network. By doing so, you can ensure that much of the server-related overhead traffic is flowing across the private network and will stay off of your main network.

There's also a second benefit to using this type of configuration -- it supports good security. Since most of the server-related traffic is now flowing across a dedicated network, there's little chance of the end users seeing any of it. This configuration also allows you to encrypt the traffic flowing between servers. You can create an IPSec policy that encrypts all server-related traffic. You've now increased performance and security.

About the author: Brien Posey, CEO of Posey Enterprises, is a freelance technical writer who has been working with computers for about 15 years. Before going freelance, Brien served as director of information systems at a large, nationwide healthcare company. He has also served as a network engineer/security consultant for the Department of Defense. You can access Brien's Web site, which contains hundreds of his articles and white papers, at http://www.brienposey.com.


This was first published in November 2002

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