Dell hardware (was Re: [rescue] Current collections...)

Patrick Finnegan pat at
Thu Apr 8 01:36:28 CDT 2004

Bill Bradford declared on Thursday 08 April 2004 01:01 am:
> On Wed, Apr 07, 2004 at 05:05:11PM -0400, Kevin Loch wrote:
> > I too have had several compaq switches ( model sw3323 ) fail.  The
> > symptom is some ports stop passing traffic.  They would run fine for
> > months or weeks and then some ports would lock up.
> We replaced a $$$ 24-port managed copper gigabit switch (Dell) with a
> $800 unmanaged 24-port copper gig switch (NetGear).  All the problems

While Dell doesn't have the greatest hardware (at least for their first 
gen stuff; I hear their current stuff isn't bad) - the management 
interface on our PowerConnect 3048s has issuse with locking up - the 
switches do something that the Cisco switches didn't.  They actually had 
a backplane that could support all-to-all communications without maxing 
anything out.  The Cisco switch I tried at the time maxed out at 80% of 
total speed, and cost $6000 instead of $1000.  The one other switch I 
tried (Telco Systems) performed just as well as the Dell, but probably 
didn't have the "issues" with management that the Dell did, for only 
about $2000.  However, I think it wasn't usable for our purposes as it 
only had 48 ports with no separate uplink, like the Cisco and Dell 
switch had.

All three switches were 10/100 managed 48 port ethernet switches, which I 
tested in August of '02.

Personally I wouldn't mind picking up one of their 3348's to play with, 
especially considering how cheap they are now.  Also, Dells major 
problems were fixed in firmware upgrades, but some still remain in the 
3048's that cause the management interface to lock up.  The switch still 
forwards packets just fine, but you've gotta power cycle it to 'fix' the 
management glitch.

Testing that one cisco switch is what has caused me to vow never to buy a 
piece of their overpriced trash.  IOS may be "beautiful," it's something 
I've never touched before, but for the post part it's something I don't 
care much about, and isn't worth a 500% increase in price.

And SMC does make some very acceptable networking hardware.  The SMC 16 
port 10/100 (unmanaged) switch I've got running my apartment suffered 
"fan issues" (started sounding like a garbage disposal), so I stuffed a 
screw in it to stop the fan.  It runs a bit warm like this, but works 
just beautifully. :)

One last thing... I normally wouldn't praise anything made with an Intel 
processor in it, but today I was quite impressed with the Dell PowerEdge 
2650's we've got at work running Debian.  Some people claim that the 
Linux scheduler sucks, but I had the box up to a sustained load of 98 
and a peak of over 101, and the box was still responsive.  Dual 2.4GHz 
P4 Xeons, 4GB ram, and kernel 2.4.25.  With a 100 load average, I could 
establish an ssh connection in less than 7 seconds, including time to 
retype my password after getting it wrong the first time.  I'm actually 
quite impressed in how well Linux can do on some fast hardware.  I'd 
love to see how 2.6.x can do on the same hardware.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with fault-tolerance, which my 
S/390 would kick ass on. :)

Well, enough of me endorsing "crappy PC hardware" and "as bad as Windows 
OSs," I've gotta go get some sleep.

Purdue University ITAP/RCS        ---
The Computer Refuge               ---

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