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System Area Network Interface Cards

In organizations with large critical mission networks, servers are arranged in clusters. In a cluster servers are configured to share resources such as storage and processing as if they were a single more powerful server. If a server in a cluster fails, the other servers in the cluster take over for it and continue processing (called "fail-over").


Servers in a cluster can be configured to communicate with each other the standard network, but in order to achieve the high level of performance required, they usually communicate with each other directly over a separate higher speed and higher reliability System Area Network.

Whereas the standard network may use twisted-pair cabling, the System Area Network may use separate fiber-optic cabling. System Area Network interface cards are special high speed circuits that provide communications between the servers over the System Area Network.

If there are only two servers in a cluster, their System Area Network Interface Cards can be connected directly to each other by a cable. If there are more than two servers, a special hub is used to provide the connection.

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