For flat networks lacking sufficient Layer 3 hierarchy, this usually means placing the Root Bridges for all VLANs on a pair of redundant switches at the server farm entrance. For more hierarchical networks, collocate the Root Bridges with the routers acting as the default gateways for the end-user segments (see Chapters 11, 15, and 17 for more information).
Diagram your primary and backup topologies. Most network managers recognize the value in having network diagrams. However, most of these diagrams only show the Layer 3 topology. Furthermore, tools such as HP OpenView tend to be very Layer 3 centric (although this is starting to change). Unfortunately, these Layer 3 diagrams tell you nothing about your Layer 2 topology—it all appears as one big subnet. CiscoWorks for Switched Internetworks (CWSI) in CiscoWorks 2000 has a simplistic but effective STP mapping tool.
Network ma nagers running a large switched infrastructure should consider placing the same care and effort into Layer 2 diagrams as they do with Layer 3 diagrams. When doing this, be sure to capture the primary and back up active Spanning Tree topologies. The diagram should indicate which ports are Forwarding and which ports are Blocking for each VLAN. Knowing this ahead of time can be a huge lifesaver when the network is down. It can be confusing enough just to figure out your STP topology on a calm day—trying to figure it out when the network is down is no fun at all!
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