You can start by making some assumptions and some samples.
This is very crude and simple but its a start: Determine
the typical I/O block size for your NFS servers. Estimate
what the I/O demand might be on your server. Find out what your
server can support as sustained I/O. Estimate
the total capacity of your network by picking a working load (say
30%) to represent the running saturation of your network.
This give you a capacity of 3 Mbits/sec. Determine the amount
of NFS activity generated by each server and its clients.
Divide the total capacity by the average network load per server/client
group, and you will end up with a rough number describing max groups per
This gets more complicated when individual machines are both clients and
servers, and you through in terminal traffic, email, and other traffic.
I hope someone can give a more formal approach, but I am afraid this can
be a very complicated thing to model.
Some of my calculations have come up with 2 server/client groups for
basic office automation scenerios.
>I'm interested in finding out what others' experiences have been with
>the maximum number of UNIX machines per Ethernet segment (on a
>10-BaseT concentrator), especially where most of the machines are
>high-throughput machines (SPARC-10's, etc.) talking primarily NFS with
>a file server.
>I'm just trying to get a sanity check on a network plan and I'm
>interested in getting a sampling from the net.
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