You can use a bunch more than 10 machines on a peer-to-peer Win95
network without it slowing noticeably. Kinda depends on the protocol
you use. NetBEUI is real noisy on the wire. IPX/SPX is pretty good,
and TCP/IP is great for routed environments, or PC/UNIX environments.
Traffic management will help a lot. If you are using UNIX boxes on the
net, you should consider running only TCP/IP on your Win95 machines.
You could actually run one powerful machine with Win95 as a "server" in
a peer-to-peer network. That would be cheap and work fine unless it's
really getting beaten up with requests (like more than 30-40 clients
really hitting it a lot). Also, this provides limited security.
NetWare 3.11 is stable, just make sure that it has all the appropriate
patches applied. Downside is that I really recommend a CNE to do the
install and apply the patches, and that ain't cheap. But, if you pay up
front to have it done right, you probably won't need anyone to touch the
server again for a long, long time. Also, if you already have an
investment in NetWare, the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
comes to mind.
Samba on Linux is a fantastic solution. The price is right (free!), it
will handle gobs o' clients (haven't heard of anyone bogging down the
server yet, but most environments I've heard of it running in are fairly
small, 100 PC's or less), and if done right, is very stable. Also
privides mail and ftp services, and can host a web site. Provides
pretty good security, too. Downside is that if you are a PC guy like
me, there is a learning curve to get a Linux server up and then get
Samba just right. Upside is that I have found I get better help from
these Linux newsgroups than I do from Microsoft's tech support, and
Novell's tech support is very very expensive. CNE's ain't cheap from
consulting houses, either.
I guess bottom line is, how much do you want to spend, and I don't just
mean in money, but in time.
Hope I haven't muddies the waters too much. If you want to chat with me
about the experiences I have had with Linux/Samba or Win95 peer-to-peer
or NetWare, please feel free to drop me a line!
Thomas Cameron, CNE, MCP
Three-Six* Technical Services, Inc.
The opinions expressed here DO reflect those of my company. I own it!
> Here's a question. Which network should I choose to deploy for a small
> company using 486 and Pentium machines? Peer-to-peer? Stay with Novell
> Netware 3.11? Or deploy a Red Hat 4.1 Linux Samba server?
> Windows 95 comes with peer-to-peer networking. It's a cheap and good
> feature built into Windows 95. However, I've read that I can only link 10
> computers before performance really starts to degrade.
> If I decide I want to run a Linux server. Can I add as many computers as
> I need without network speed halting to a crawl (Like peer-to-peer
> networking)? And what are the advantages (if any) of Linux-based network
> over a Novell network?
> Thanks for any info,
> James Ho