By Sterling Christian
Expanding the capacity of any high bandwidth network is always an involved process. The actual cost of upgrade hardware and the task of physically installing RAM memory into your Cisco routers' expansion slots is simple enough, but most high-capacity data networks serve production environments which demand fault-tolerance and as near to total uptime as possible. In order to build a network that can be relied upon to guarantee this level of service, network engineers need to plan a long way ahead. In addition to ensuring the servers, workstations, cabling and software can handle increasing loads for years to come, when planning a new segment, a good engineer will consider the possible lifetime cost and load of each and every crucial device on the network. This includes Cisco routers!
As it may be difficult to even temporarily disconnect a mission-critical router to upgrade its memory, one way to "future proof" your network is to upgrade the device at purchase - prior to installation. This may sound expensive, but in any truly high-bandwidth medium, the cost of downtime or loss of connectivity far outweighs the safe option of upgrading your routers memory to the maximum before installing it.
If you do indeed decide to take the path of pre-upgrading a Cisco router for life, you will be choosing to save yourself from ever having to take it out of commission in order to install new Cisco DRAM memory or flash. Though the cost may be significant, not upgrading presents even more significant risks. It's well known that a router is more likely to fail if it is run with insufficient RAM for it to cope with its workload.
This raises the question of Cisco memory will be enough over the lifetime of a given product. Unfortunately, there's no simple answer to this question: How much RAM a Cisco router is going to need changes depending on the enterprise and its scale, what sort of applications your network is (and will be) supporting, and of course, which series router you're using. Cisco makes some forecasts and recommendations available to customers to assist in making this judgment.
Generally, upgrading to the maximum memory your router is capable of supporting takes some of the guesswork out of this equation. The Cisco memory requirements for each are made available in individual the product specifications, and Cisco lists which product lines will be supported at least 18 months in advance. In this way, a diligent network analyst may make fairly accurate predictions of what their individual requirements will be for at least the next couple of years, and likely, much longer.
After checking the installation procedure and maximum upgrade capacity for your particular Cisco router, you have two options, either purchasing the memory directly from Cisco at a considerable markup, or from a memory reseller such as PC Wholesale. Memory resellers offer a tremendous advantage over purchasing directly from Cisco for the budget conscious company – many times their prices can be up to 90% off Cisco’s list price, for the same exact memory!
About the Author: Sterling Christian writes exclusively for PC Wholesale. Sterling writes about the use, operation and upgrading of Cisco and Sun Microsystems devices. PC Wholesale carries Cisco Approved memory, Sun original memory, & third-party memory for all Sun and Cisco devices. www.pc-wholesale.com.
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Follow this link: What to Know Before Upgrading Your Cisco Router