Help wanted with server backbone requirement

I have 6 servers (various OSes) on a switched LAN. I would like to create a dedicated, separate "backbone" LAN for the servers using 2nd NICs, 2nd IP addresses and a 100MB/s hub. Can this be done? What would I use for the 'default gateway' entry? I assume I can direct traffic through the backbone for inter-server file transfers using specific DNS suffixes, am I correct? Appreciate any advice.

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In general, yes.

The question that comes to mind is what you hope to accomplish?

If you want the servers to use this “backbone” to communicate with each other (for example, web server talking to database server), then you leave the default gateway as is, and then add persistent static routes through the “backbone” to the other servers.

Since you mentioned various OS’s, I won’t bother specifying routing commands.

But – it’s fairly trivial to implement – been there, done that.


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    I agree, but also, does any of this servers is your main gateway to the internet..??? Do you have a firewall device attached between your internet cable link and the server itself..??? This is just because I don't think you might want to put at risk your backbone connecting directly to the hub or switch the internet connection without a firewall on it. Go subnetting and static routes on the servers.
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  • Kerm
    There are a number of issues buried in this question. First, are the two networks to be completely seperate from one another with traffic for one net never to traverse the other? If that is not true, I recommend you route traffic between the two networks, don't leave them on switches that can see traffic from the other. If the two switches must see the other's traffic, but not support the other's traffic, you will have issues with DNS, preferred NICs, preferred services, etc. These can be dealt with, but they are a headache with settings in areas you seldom visit.
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  • Larrythethird
    The first thing in networking is KISS, keep it simple stupid. I agree with previous post that you need to figure out EXACTLY what you are trying to accomplish. A server network just for the sake of having a server network will just make the network more complex. All of the PCs on the network have to access data, applications and files on those servers. Every packet on the network will have to be routed to do that, from the PC network to the server network. The best way to accomplish such a network is to have a good router with multiple vlans so that the traffic only goes where it should go. Personally, I prescribe to the centralized router school of thought. Control everything from the core.
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  • Astronomer
    Depending what you really want, our solution to a similar need may be helpful. We have two 100 Mbit logical nets with servers mostly on one and partly on the other. We wanted maximum bandwidth for network backups to a central server. We obtained a Gbit switch and a Gbit interface to the router. All of the servers on the main net were moved to the Gbit switch. We tolerate the limited bandwidth to the remaining servers because 100 Mbits is good enough for them at this time. As this changes I intend to gradually move the remaining servers to the big pipe. This solution gives maximum connectivity to the majority of the servers and doesn't bottleneck connectivity to the other sections of the network. We also didn't need to multihome the servers or do any fancy routing stuff. I hope this helps. rt
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  • LightSQR
    We recently set up a very similar situation (GB backbone only to be used for server-to-server communication and server backup traffic). This is the way we did it: 1) If you have Windows in your environment, you cannot set the PDC (or the DC holding the PDC emulator role if AD) on teh seperate network, as this will screw up browsing. 2) If you have a DMZ, do not put these servers on the server backbone LAN - this will negate the security benefit of having a DMZ. 3) Set up a different IP address scheme for the backbone 4) We set up HOSTS files (and if in a Windows network LMHOSTS files too) - you do not need static routes 5) Do not set up a default gateway for the server backbone LAN NIC - you do not want that subnet routed anyway 6) We made sure the server backbone LAN NIC is used as the default (bindings order in Windows) It works flawlessly - on our default network (100 Mbps), we're getting an average of 88 Mbps throughput (which is good for 100 Mbps Ethernet), but on our GB backbone, we're getting an average of about 650 Mbps (using Qcheck bandwidth monitor tool) Also - do not use a hub for the backbone. Make sure you use a switch! Hope this helps! - Adam
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  • Sonyfreek
    A better solution might be to etherchannel the two interfaces into the same VLAN/subnet to increase the throughput instead of using a dedicated subnet. It will benefit both the clients and the servers. A separate backchannel network is only going to cause problems. If you want to ensure that the servers have dedicated bandwidth, consider setting up committed access rates on your router/layer 3 device (if your servers are on a separate subnet).
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