by Kevin OBrien

In the Lab: Netgear Ethernet Networking Infrastructure

One of the more integral components in any lab is its traditional Ethernet networking infrastructure connecting servers, storage, networking and related components. While high-speed interconnects such as 10/40GbE, Infiniband or Fibre Channel might be the primary production links for storage or other means, gigabit is still needed to make all that gear manageable. For every switch, server or storage array, the management or KVM ports are required for day to day upkeep. This article covers what makes the StorageReview Test Lab tick when it comes to Ethernet fabric.

Netgear has been a valuable partner with StorageReview by providing almost all of the 1Gb and 10GBase-T gear in our lab to date. This includes hardware ranging from our primary firewall to wireless access points to POE switches we use to power the security cameras in our office. Netgear switching touches every device that comes through our lab, since everything generally needs 1GbE connectivity for management.  

To get a better idea of how all of this gear is connected, we've made a flow chart showing the layout as well as how all of this is connected to one another. Black is 1GbE, red is 10GbE twinax and yellow is 10GBase-T. The connections to all three access points (which provide a mesh coverage of our entire building) are using POE to simplify cabling in certain areas.

In our primary test lab, we leverage a number of Netgear switches to handle the vast number of ports that require connection on each storage array or server. The switches included in this space include the GSM7352Sv2 as the core switch, which then branches off to the ProSafe M7100, the ProSafe GS752TXS, as well as the GS752TX. The M7100 and GS752TXS both use 10GbE uplink ports to connect back to the GSM7352Sv2 for maximum throughput.

In our NAS test lab, we use the Netgear ProSafe GS752TXS as the main 1GbE connectivity for both management and testing of SMB storage devices, as well as the XS712T for some NAS platforms that offer 10GBase-T access. These switches both share a 10GbE CAT6 uplink connection back to the primary lab, supporting the faster iSCSI connections the VMs running on the servers in the NAS lab require. Lastly, the Netgear ProSafe JGS524 and ProSafe M4100 PoE+ switches provide 1GbE (and power) connectivity for devices located around our office, including security cameras, workstation and NAS network access as well as links to our three Netgear ProSafe access points.

Netgear has built their brand to be a trusted partner for the enterprise while offering great value and reliability. The StorageReview lab certainly benefits from the quality of Netgear products every day..

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