Consider Distributed Server Farms

Although centralized server farms are becoming increasingly common because they simplify server management, they do create problems from a bandwidth management perspective because the aggregate data rate can be extremely high. Although high-speed Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches have mitigated this problem to a certain extent, network designers should look for opportunities to intelligently distribute servers throughout the organization. Although this point is obviously true with regards to wide-area links, it can also be true of campus networks.

One occasion where servers can fairly easily be distributed is in the case of departmental servers (servers that are dedicated to a single organizational unit). These devices can be directly connected to the distribution block network they serve. In general, these servers are attached in one of two locations:

• They can be directly connected to the IDF switch that handles the given department.

• They can be attached to the MDF switches in that building or distribution block. This also presents the opportunity to create mini server farms in the MDF closets of every building. Departmental file and print servers can be attached here where enterprise and high-maintenance servers can be located in the centralized server farm.

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