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Our office currently has something in the region of 50 machines all hooked up by a web of switches which all link back to a single switch in the server cabinet. Our IT vendor has recently changed hands and the new one is telling us that this setup is likely to impact network performance.

What are the performance implications of chaining multiple switches together vs all connections to a single switch?

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marked as duplicate by Hennes, sawdust, Brad Patton, Tog, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 10 '13 at 11:22

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

It depends both on the switches (are they store-and-forward or are they cut-through), on how they are connected (as a web is a tad to vague for me) and and on what you measure (throughput, latency?)

A similar question has been asked before. Please see if that post answers your questions.

If it does not please clarify what the difference is and clarify how the web is formed.

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The Tiered solution in your answer is how we have things set up at the moment. We're doing the same sort of thing (transferring 100MB-5GB files from a NAS to data processing machines). Sawdust's answer there suggests we could get quite significant gains from changing to cut-through switches? – Jon Cage Apr 10 '13 at 10:13
If you have a good core switch and connect the NAS to that then that should work just fine. The massive single switch (such as an Cisco 4510R+E in the other answer) would be marginally faster, but it is likely that you can gain much larger performance gains by spending that kind of money on other hardware. What you do not want to do is to connect a NAS to one with the leaf (at the end) switches. – Hennes Apr 10 '13 at 10:15
Also, how fast is the NAS? If its performance is less than wirespeed you will not gain from increasing the wirespeed. – Hennes Apr 10 '13 at 10:15
It's a Buffalo TeraStation™ III iSCSI which after a bit of googling looks like it should give us something in the region of ~50MB/s. – Jon Cage Apr 10 '13 at 10:25

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