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  1. #1
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    Hub vs Switch and do I really need one?

    So I have a few IBM units I am getting ready to throw into collocation. I'm not doing anything extensive at the moment, it's mainly for personal use and small-time leasing of game servers, etc. to people in the area.

    Now that being said, do I need to invest into a network switch/hub? I have a 100mb uplink and 5 IP's in my current package. What will a switch allow me to do in this case? Do i really need one? I've done some research on google but most of it is just the average joe explaining what a switch is. I need someone from the networking industry to share some thoughts with me. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    It depends what drop the DC provide you. If you have a 1/4 cabinet or so they will probably present with a single drop. You'll need a switch in that case.

    If you're not renting a cabinet and it's all 1U colocation then you'll have a drop for each server so no switch required.
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  3. #3
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    I would say go with a switch over a hub.

    Short end, Switches are intelligent and hubs are dumb. You'll get better use out of a good switch.

    I believe you would be better off with a small switch to split your drop between all your machines.

    I've seen standard off the office supply shelf switches in many data center cages.

    You can also pick up some cisco switches, like a 3550, for under $100 and the like used off ebay to get an idea of what an enterprise switch can do for you.

    I also know many providers that use ebay'd switches in their cages.

    I hope this helps.

  4. #4
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    Short: go with a switch
    Long: are hubs still in use? I remember about 10-15 years ago I was using them, but they have a huge issue: BW limiting. Let me explain that.
    As MadzcoHosting said, hubs are dumb switches. They are dumb because they have no idea where a package should go, so they send whatever package it receives on port-1 to all its ports. In other words, this means that the total BW capacity of a hub is maximum 100mbps (i didn't see hubs more powerful than that).
    Switches on the other side, know where to route a package based on the MAC address of the recipient. So if you have a switch with 10 ports and first 5 ports send data to the last 5 ports, that means 500mbps total BW capacity.

    Hope this helps...
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  5. #5
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    Alright great, learned something already.

    Quote Originally Posted by MadzcoHosting View Post
    I believe you would be better off with a small switch to split your drop between all your machines.
    But as Martin stated, with my 1U collocation package, I know I have a drop for each unit. What benefit would I get from a switch in this case? Faster server to server communication? or what?

    Update: Checked my local craigslist and I found a company selling quite a few 3550's or 3560's. Is it really worth it to throw one of these in with only 3U worth of racks? I mean I'll be upgrading in the future, but at this point I'm trying to get a sense of what I'll actually benefit from paying for the extra 1U to collocate a switch.
    Last edited by HostStratus; 10-28-2013 at 03:52 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schonix View Post
    Alright great, learned something already.


    But as Martin stated, with my 1U collocation package, I know I have a drop for each unit. What benefit would I get from a switch in this case? Faster server to server communication? or what?

    Update: Checked my local craigslist and I found a company selling quite a few 3550's or 3560's. Is it really worth it to throw one of these in with only 3U worth of racks? I mean I'll be upgrading in the future, but at this point I'm trying to get a sense of what I'll actually benefit from paying for the extra 1U to collocate a switch.

    If you have a drop for each machine already then you should be good to go. I don't see much benefit, yet, to adding a switch with only three machines, especially if they each have their own drop.

    I personally wouldn't worry about it till it was needed and If I didn't know why I needed it yet, then I likely didn't need it.

    It never hurts to learn tho... If you know your setup is going to grow.. then you will eventually need one. Could always get one to play with at the house to see what they can do for you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadzcoHosting View Post
    If you have a drop for each machine already then you should be good to go. I don't see much benefit, yet, to adding a switch with only three machines, especially if they each have their own drop.

    I personally wouldn't worry about it till it was needed and If I didn't know why I needed it yet, then I likely didn't need it.

    It never hurts to learn tho... If you know your setup is going to grow.. then you will eventually need one. Could always get one to play with at the house to see what they can do for you.
    Sounds good. Should I purchase a 3550 or 3560? Might get one to do just that. Mess around at the house and see what all can be done.

  8. #8
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    I can only think of 2 reasons that you would want to put a switch in for this situation:
    If you are transferring a lot of data between the boxes then you would want a switch before the DC's drop.

    If you want to setup a private network between your servers then you would want a switch before the DC's drop.

  9. #9
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    Even with small-time leasing of game servers, you might find it beneficial to have a switch in there for management purposes. You won't need, for example, server access to shut off network connectivity or throttle bandwidth.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianHarrison View Post
    Even with small-time leasing of game servers, you might find it beneficial to have a switch in there for management purposes. You won't need, for example, server access to shut off network connectivity or throttle bandwidth.
    Good point, If he wanted to do that he needs to get all the bandwidth for the 5 connections pooled on a single connection. Make sure the switch is Gigabit and "Current".

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schonix View Post
    Sounds good. Should I purchase a 3550 or 3560? Might get one to do just that. Mess around at the house and see what all can be done.
    A 3750 is also a good newer alternative to a 3550 and ipv6 capable.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave - Just199 View Post
    I can only think of 2 reasons that you would want to put a switch in for this situation:
    If you are transferring a lot of data between the boxes then you would want a switch before the DC's drop.

    If you want to setup a private network between your servers then you would want a switch before the DC's drop.
    Yeah, Most definitely. If your data center charges you for data sent between the drops then a switch would be most useful if you plan on moving a lot of data between the machines.

    At this point it might even be beneficial to get a device that can manage the load between the multiple uplinks between your switch. Like Dave suggested, 'Pooling" your uplinks for best data use, specially if your provider chargers you transfer per link.

    As for the switch type, It's most often better to go with the newer model.

    Stealthy Hosting suggested even going up to a 3750.

    There are many articles on the internet providing "the differences between x and x and x" for these cisco switches (and alternative brands).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schonix View Post
    Sounds good. Should I purchase a 3550 or 3560? Might get one to do just that. Mess around at the house and see what all can be done.
    I would recommend 3560 or 3750. The main advantage of 3750 is that you can use their stack ports to bundle them.
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