Diggin' technology every day

December 13, 2011

Extreme Grey

Filed under: Networking — Nate @ 10:51 am

I was on Netgear‘s site earlier this morning planning on filing a support request for one of my home switches, when I managed to resolve the problem myself, at least for the moment, I’m half expecting the problem to return. Over the past 12-13 years or so I’ve never had even one issue with the small (8 ports or less) metal-enclosed Netgear switches so have stuck to them they have worked very well for me (one company I was at bought a single netgear 48-port gig switch which didn’t work very well by contrast).

I remember reading a while ago how Netgear teamed up with Extreme to re-sell their Black Diamond series of switches.

I didn’t think too much of it till I was on Netgear’s site today so I decided to try to poke around and see if I could find the product(s) that were being resold or OEM’d, and I found them, here is one.

The Netgear 8800

When I saw that it just looked so strange! It’s HP-grey in color, not the usual purple I’m used to seeing. Speaking of HP and purple someone at HP recently speculated to me that the 3PAR arrays will likely stick to being yellow instead of HP-grey because it makes them stand out in the data center.

Tangent comin’ hold onto your butts…

While troubleshooting my home network this morning I think I let some of the smoke out of my HP workstation. Which reminds me of this quote I came across on slashdot years ago

 There is no such thing as a "safe" capacitor! They are filled with SMOKE and that smoke is DEADLY. ALWAYS let the smoke out of the capacitors before attempting to handle them! This should only be done by PROFESSIONALS. Do NOT try this at home.

 Always assume a CAPACITOR is holding a charge. And: Capacitors don't kill people, it's the circuit of which the person is a part that is dangerous...

I thought the networking issue may of been somehow caused by the HP box, so I rebooted it, while it was in the midst of rebooting(middle of POST before the screen came up), I powered it off(by holding down the power button), to reset the network chipset entirely. When I did that I heard a weird clicking sound coming from either the HP box(I think so) or my Cyberpower UPS which was right next to it. Within about 10 seconds I swear a little puff of smoke came out of the HP box(I think), there’s a remote chance it was just dust but I don’t think so. I unplugged the HP box and the clicking stopped. Then I plugged it back in about 30 seconds later, which caused it to turn on automatically, it booted like a champ, no errors, the UPS event log reported nothing. So I don’t know what inside the HP box released the smoke but I guess it was not vital?

Back on topic..

Anyways I poked around in the user manuals and they did a pretty good job of replacing all references of the original product and making it look like a Netgear product through and through (with a couple minor exceptions in diagrams).

I remember about 11 years ago now when I was shopping for a Summit 48 on Ebay for my company(this product wasn’t known for quality at the time though I didn’t know it at the time), I came across some Compaq OEM’d Summit 48s that I think were white in color.

If I was building a bigger network I really would be tempted to opt for this Netgear product if for nothing else to see the expression on people’s faces when I tell them I’m using Netgear, not a brand that comes to most people’s minds when it comes to data center networks! Speaking of data center it looks like Extreme’s 40GbE offerings are leading the market pretty good, I’m so proud of them! Hopefully they can sustain the execution and gain market share. They’ve had some missteps in the past which has knocked them back a few notches(at the time), but they certainly have another opportunity here.

I remember when HP used to OEM/re-sell Foundry Networks chassis switches though I seem to recall HP not making any modifications to the chassis itself(at least according to the pictures on the website, I don’t think it even had an HP logo on the thing). The product at the time was the MG8 which I was entertaining for a data center build out back in 2004/2005. I wasn’t going to buy from HP but was just one of those days that I was poking around and came across it on HP’s site.

Oh and in case your wondering my home network used to be powered by Extreme, I had a trusty Summit 48 for many years, which I eventually upgraded to a Summit 48si (which I still have now). I stopped using it many years ago because I just didn’t have enough ports at home to justify the power usage or more importantly the noise, 1U data center switches are so noisy for home use! I went so far as to replace all of the fans in the 48si (I believe I used Sunon Maglev fans) with quieter ones which reduced the noise by at least half but it was still really loud.

The patented MagLev design is based on magnetic principles and forces that not only propel the fan but also ensure stable rotation over its entire 360 degrees of movement. Utilizing the attraction of the magnetic levitation force, MagLev eliminates the wobbling and shaking problems of traditional motor fans. With this new technology, the MagLev fan propeller is suspended in air during rotation so that the shaft and bearing do not come into direct contact with each other to create friction.

(I dig technology even when it comes to fans!)

The Summit 48 by contrast was 2U and had 80mm fans which spun slower and were quieter. At the moment I have 9 devices wired into my netgear-powered home switching network (one 8-port switch and one 5-port). I used to have a couple Foundry load balancers, and a Cisco switch and a couple other things I think but I recycled them with my Summit 48 years ago, was too lazy to try to re-sell them.

I just saw that picture and was just fascinated by it. It also gives me another opportunity to add more color onto this blog.

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