Gigabit Switch

Felix Rauch rauch at
Wed Nov 12 07:05:04 EST 2003

On Tue, 11 Nov 2003, Keyan Mehravaran wrote:
> 1) Is there any benefit to using "managed"
>    switch rather than the "unmanaged" ones?

For a cluster scenario I would go for the unmanaged switch, since
management features might reduce the performance of the switch and are
not really needed. In a cluster, all that you want your switch to do
is layer-2 switching.

It is important that you know your switch's real performance.
Sometimes, technical data sheets might help to find out about the
capabilities of your switch, but sometimes data sheets are
"inaccurate" (not to say "written based on wishfull dreaming"). We
described such a switch and how we found out about its capabilities in
our paper "Cost/Performance Tradeoffs in Network Interconnects for
Clusters of Commodity PCs" [1].

So, before you order a cluster, specify exactly what your switch must
be able to do. If it doesn't fulfil your specification, you might get
a free upgrade ;-)

- Felix


Felix Rauch                      | Email: rauch at
Institute for Computer Systems   | Homepage:
ETH Zentrum / RZ H16             | Phone: +41 1 632 7489
CH - 8092 Zuerich / Switzerland  | Fax:   +41 1 632 1307

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