Here Comes Trouble
Here Comes Trouble During tests, we simulated problems in the network in a number of places. The easy part was pulling the plug on the switch and watching the traffic fail over to the other NIC that was connected to the second switch. We also took a chance with our network cards and unseated one while the server was running and carrying load. NIC Express 4.0 worked as advertised, immediately transferring network traffic from the failed card as soon as it detected a problem.It should be noted that the Intel NICs, once reseated in the server (we did a power down before putting them back), worked fine, even after being subjected to this abuse.The configuration tool made it easy for us to set up rules for traffic handling in the case of a NIC or network failure, and we found a couple of other features in NIC Express 4.0 that, although not new, are worthy of special attention. The monitor panel for our servers used colored icons to show the state of each of our NICs based on current and past behavior. We have been stymied more than once by NICs that died intermittently and caused more than a little heartache on the way. NIC Express 4.0 easily flagged problem hardware for us to put on the pull-and-replace list. NIC Express 4.0 comes with agents prepackaged for easy deployment with distribution tools, including Microsoft Corp.s Systems Management Server and Marimba Inc.s namesake product. Since we had just finished a Marimba test, we used the product to distribute NIC Express 4.0 to Windows 2000 servers in our test network. (For eWeek Labs July 22 review of Marimba Migration Module, go to www.eweek.com/links.) After a little coaxing, we got NIC Express 4.0 installed on several servers in our testbed. Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.