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Network Building, Management & control for a Render Farm

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January 31, 2014 10:01:58 AM

I'm planning to build a small render farm for my 3D work at home.
I have a good workstation and I am gonna start with 16 nods (i7 3770 / 8GB ram / HDD and MOBO with 1000Mbps LAN in a mini case) another 16 to be added latter for this part of the hardware configuration
I am Ok with.
For the network part I have a lot of questions right here:
1- for network management -I don't know anything about building, managing, controlling & Monitoring a network-
2- should I have a different computer other than the workstation to manage the network through
3- for storage: should I have a NAS storage or I can work on the work station HDD
4- for network hardware: switches, cables, speed ???
5- should I support the nods or the workstation with two LAN cards
6- for software (???????????????)
what I have been told is:
- working on 1000 Mbps is gonna make a big difference over 100Mbps, so I should buy switch and cables that support this speed and the LAN card in each nod and the workstation of course.
Briefly I want to build a stable, secure and affordable network for RENDER (In details and step-by-step).

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January 31, 2014 10:23:22 AM

I am not any sort of an expert in 3D RENDER like you are doing but from the sounds of it you are thinking you need something 10x more complex then what you need.

What are your needs for managing the network?
There is software out there that lets you monitor all your traffic like wireshark, and then there is SNMP (Simplte Network Managment Protocol) software out there.

From the sounds of it, you probably do not need anything more then the WebGui of your router which allow you to set IPs, Port Forwarding, View Active Devices, etc.

The only reason you would need two lan cards is if you are going to have two issolated networks that a machine needs to access.

To have a stable network you just need a good gigabit switch, and a decnet router.

The netgear wnr3500l is a good little router that allows you to put tomatousb firmware on it which will provide you with good tools to manage your network (not enterprise level tools, but I dont think you need anything that complex).
Trendnet, D-Link, Netgear, and even TP=Link all make good unmanaged 16-24 port gigabit switches. I would go with a 24 since there is not much of a price difference and will give the extra ports.
As far as the nodes go, most every computer in the last 10 years has a gigabit connection, but since I am not familiar with the equipment you use you may want to check if they have gigabit (1000mbps) ports on them.
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