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Topology Example 3

In this topology, ten clients share 16 TB of storage. The SAN’s bandwidth availability with four semi-populated Xserve RAIDs is a whopping 640 to 800 MB/s. Because of the number of Fibre cables in this topology (32 total), an additional switch has been implemented. Data cascades effortlessly between the two switches because a high-bandwidth interswitch link (ISL) has been made with six user ports on each switch. Think of it as a data river that flows bidirectionally between each switch. A primary and a standby MDC are mandatory with such a large implementation. To keep their roles simple and efficient, the directory is implemented on the outer network.


  • 4 × Xserve RAID 7 TB (populated with six 500 GB drive modules per controller; the seventh is a hot spare, not used in the storage calculation)
  • 512 MB cache per controller (1 GB total)

Fibre Channel Switch

  • 2 × Apple qualified Fibre Channel switch

Metadata Controllers

  • Xserve, Xserve G5, or Xserve G5 cluster node
  • 1 GB RAM per controller
  • Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X card
  • Mac OS X Server v10.3.6 or later
  • Apple Xsan software
  • PCI video card (optional)

Ethernet Switch (Metadata Network)

  • 1 × unmanaged Ethernet gigabit switch

Client Workstations

  • Power Macintosh G5 or Power Macintosh G4 Dual 800 or faster
  • Apple Fibre Channel PCI Express or PCI-X card
  • Apple Ethernet PCI-X card
  • Mac OS X v10.3.6 or later
  • Apple Xsan software

Outer Network

Mac OS X Server running Open Directory to provide directory services, or a system running a similar service such as Active Directory.

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