[Bioclusters] Dell 3048 Switch Post

chris dagdigian bioclusters@bioinformatics.org
Fri, 31 Jan 2003 14:13:15 -0500

Hi Jim,

The customer who owned the 3048 switch we were trying to use in a 
cluster ended up pulling it for project deadline reasons -- we just did 
not have the time or interest in debugging the 3048 lockup issues we saw 
when the unit was under heavy NFS load. My understanding is that the 
3048 now is being used in a desktop setting without any problems (rather 
than being returned).

We ended up replacing the Dell Powerconnect 3048 switch in that cluster 
with a Dell PowerConnect 3248 model which has more features than we 
really needed but does have a totally different internal firmware, 
embedded OS and management interface. It may even be Cisco under the 
hood (not sure)

The 3248 has been working flawlessly -- it aggregates traffic from a 
number of compute nodes and is uplinked to an ExtremeNetworks Alpine 
3808 core switch.

On other projects I've used the following Dell Powerconnect switches 
without any problems at all:

Powerconnect 3024 -- 24 port 10/100 switch with dual GBICs
Powerconnect 5012 -- 12 port gigabit ethernet (copper) switch
Powerconnect 5024 -- 24 port gigabit ethernet (copper) switch

So- we never really solved the 3048 problem. My understanding at the 
time was that this was a huge priority for Dell to fix because I think 
that was the switch they were trying to use on the monster Dell SUNY 
Buffalo cluster. Its bad to hear that they still have not nailed the issue.

Dell seems to OEM different internal firmware and embedded OS's for 
various units in the powerconnect line. This may be why the 3048 is a 
dud and the other switches have worked fine for me.

I'd recommend repurposing or replacing the Powerconnect 3048 switch. It 
just can't seem to stand up under heavy NFS trafic.

Overall though I'm still pretty happy with the Powerconnect line -- in 
particular I like seeing a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet switch for under 
$2,000 USD.


Jim Kehres wrote:
> Hi Chris,
> I saw a post on a board from August from you concerning problems with 
> the Dell 3048 switch.  You stated a Firmware would be out soon to fix 
> it.  I have installed two of these at two different client sites and 
> ports are locking up all over and I've updated firmware to now 6.0.4 
> (jan 7 2003)!!  These things are horrible!!  I'm going to try and get 
> our money back from Dell.  Any advice from you on getting them to work?  
> Do you still have yours?
> Thanks,
> Jim
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Chris Dagdigian, <dag@sonsorol.org>
Independent life science IT & informatics consulting
Office: 617-666-6454, Mobile: 617-877-5498, Fax: 425-699-0193
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