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Networking Hardware IT Linux

Ask Slashdot: Enterprise-Grade Linux Networking Hardware? 140

Posted by timothy
from the 12-linksys-boxes-and-a-disposable-intern dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In spite of Linux's great networking capabilities, there seems to be a shortage of suitable hardware for building an enterprise-grade networking platform. I've had success on smaller projects with the Soekris offerings but they are suboptimal for large-scale deployment due to their single-board non-redundant design (eg., single power supply, lack of backup 'controller'). What is the closest thing to a modular Linux-capable platform with some level of hardware redundancy and substantial bus/backplane throughput?"
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Ask Slashdot: Enterprise-Grade Linux Networking Hardware?

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  • Re:Supermicro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @10:05AM (#40243843)

    Dude said enterprise. Supermicro does not provide enterprise support, they have fine phone support but replacements are slow to arrive and unreliable. Hell their build quality is dodgy at best. (Stuff may not fit identically unit to unit, poorer quality fans, etc) I like them a lot, used them for a 400 server build a couple years back, the cost/value is fantastic, but they are not "enterprise" by any stretch. Just reasonably priced Chinese server gear.

  • Re:Server (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Thursday June 07, 2012 @10:11AM (#40243917) Homepage Journal

    If they want networking hardware, linux *ISN'T* the way to go.

    Juniper, Cisco, others.... (I dunno anymore but there is I'm sure).

    As you said yourself, you get what you pay for. If you buy crap, you'll get crap throughput.

  • Re:Server (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:36AM (#40245177)

    On the low-end, you are right. But anywhere that you actually use the features that set a Cisco router apart (enterprise-scale redundancy, failover, etc) you will be glad you bought Cisco. Plus, with dedicated hardware, I can take a failed device, pull the config from backups, drop it on the new device and be back up and running in minutes.

    In the sub-$1000 market, there are plenty of better options than Cisco. I'm a big fan of Fortinet; their cloud management features are pretty slick, and their devices offer so much functionality that it would be difficult to duplicate with just a server. There are so many inexpensive options here that building your own simply makes no sense at all when for the same price, you could just buy a FortiGate and be done with it.

    In short, roll your own routers are fun projects, but at the end of the day it'll just be cheper to buy a commercial router. With a router, you're not buying hardware, you're buying the software. And most of that software is sufficiently complex as to not make you feel ripped off.

  • by Quick Reply (688867) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:48AM (#40245331) Journal

    Here is something different to all the other experts.

    It is absolutely useless to have redundant hardware, eg: Dual PSUs, Dual CPUs, Dual Motherboards, etc. on the same computer. You will never be able to 100% protect against a hardware failure as they will invariably share hardware to allow the interconnection between the redundant components to occur, it is unlikely to protect from things like a short circuit/power surge which would take out everything until the UPS. Then if a component does fail, to repair it your are going to have to take it offline to restore that redundancy anyway.

    You are far better off getting two (or more) completely separate servers, geographically diverse if possible, which uses software to provide redundancy. If one goes down, the other(s) would be powerful enough to handle all the load, and when everything is rosey, it just load balances.

    The real world difference is you are looking at a $5000 server with identical specs as a $20,000 but without all the redundant PSUs, etc. but you would be better off buying two $5,000 servers ($10,000 total), set them up to have redundancy of each other (So you truely have two COMPLETELY separate sets in redundant hardware of all components, and geographically separate too if possible), and as a bonus you have twice as much computing power (or scale down power draw when not needed) for when both servers are working. If you need to pull one down for maintenance, you don't need to shut off the whole thing.

    If you are into Dual PSUs, etc. equipment in addition to also load balancing/fallover between other servers which also have redundancy, this is pointless because you should have ability to cope with the complete failure of a "redundant" server anyway, for the time it takes to replace the defective part the window that the other server(s) will have a failure in that time is not very high.

    The only exception to this is Hard Drives, Hard Drives make sense for redundancy, not just because of their high rate of failure, but the fact that if there is a failure, it is a lot more work to recover from (Whereas other components are just a straight hardware swap) so it is saving extra work in the long run.

    For a smaller environment where a small amount of downtime would be acceptable, You can even have a Cold Server, an exactly clone of the Main Server ready to go with all the software setup but powered off until needed if there is fault with the main server, the Cold Server can then be powered on to take over. There is no redundancy or fall over with this, but then again, in a smaller environment, your app might not support any kind of redundancy. With a Cold Server, just turn off the faulty server, switch on the cold server, restore the latest data set, and off you go. Microsoft doesn't require that Cold Servers hold a separate license either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:08PM (#40246401)

    Go with the cheap router and buy TWO or more.

    Deploy using VRRP or other active/standby or active/active configuration.

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