Gen-Probe, a developer of advanced genetic probe diagnostic tests for human health care, recently opened a public bid for the installation of a high-performance network in its new corporate headquarters. The price/performance objectives were kept within strict limitations leaving the vendors with the challenge to offer the highest quality for an edged price. FORE ATM was the only one to meet these severe demands without cutting down on service and technical support. The question whether to standardise on FORE ATM was quickly solved.
After having performed an exhaustive diagnosis of its networking requirements and the available solutions, Gen Probe found itself in clear need of the power and performance of an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) based system. The FORE ATM network replaces a system of terminal servers, serial connections and a variety of communications protocols and uses centralised servers instead. Its applications support VMS-based manufacturing systems, inventory control, research and development, quality assurance and also finance and administration functions.
The ForeRunner ASX-1000 ATM backbone switch constitutes the heart of the network which includes fax, RAS, LAN-based dial-out, T-1 Internet access, Intranet servers, TCP/IP printing, POP3 mail and both Oracle and SQL server applications. The backbone switch is built out with two 2.5 Gbps switch engines and 16 OC-3 ports.
More than 300 workstations connect to the network, whether through ES-3810 LAN switches or through PowerHub LAN switches if Fast Ethernet switching is utilised. Servers are connected directly to the backbone at 155 Mbps. Redundant LAN emulation (LANE) services distribute LECS, LES and BUS across multiple devices while Virtual LANs (VLANs) segregate network traffic into distinct and secure entities. The ForeView Network Management software running on Windows NT and HP OpenView is steering the network.
The newly built network has solved a number of recurrent performance problems, according to Gen-Probe's network administrator Parker Foster, and accommodates room for future application requirements. Gen-Probe is planning to create a Wide Area Network in a few years. Since FORE displays a great variety of options, the system will easily be able to support the need for flexibility and the growth of the existing network.