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Networking Hardware IT Linux

Ask Slashdot: Enterprise-Grade Linux Networking Hardware? 140

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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  • Server (Score:4, Informative)

    by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @09:53AM (#40243689)

    Try a Dell server.
    Official Linux support - check
    Redundant power supplies - check
    Remote LAN console - check
    Server-class motherboard with loads of bandwidth - check
    Rack-mountable - check

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2012 @09:59AM (#40243751)
  • Supermicro (Score:4, Informative)

    by BaronAaron ( 658646 ) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @10:00AM (#40243761)

    I've used Supermicro equipment for years. Their 1U Atom based systems work great for firewalls, routers, or any other kind of Linux network device. Low power, mostly fanless (power supply has a fan), expansion slots, decently priced. You can go up the line to full blown Xeon based systems with all the redundancy you need.

    Their support is good also. You get to talk to knowledgeable people who speak English.

    Supermicro website []

  • Try ALIX? (Score:4, Informative)

    by guises ( 2423402 ) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @10:09AM (#40243903)
    ALIX boards can run Linux or FreeBSD (Monowall, pfSense) and support PoE, so you can set up your own redundant power system. For board redundancy, just use two routers.

    Actually, the Soekris boards seem to be similar - they both use x86 CPUs.
  • My Day Job. (Score:5, Informative)

    by cheetah ( 9485 ) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @11:00AM (#40244625)

    Ok first thing first, I work for ImageStream as the Technical Support manager. So I might have a slightly biased viewpoint when it comes to the place I have been working for the last 16 years... But we have been doing Linux Based networking for the last 14 years.

    What the OP wants to do is rather difficult for a few reasons. First, after shipping thousands of Linux based routers I can tell you that redundant power supplies that fit into standard PC hardware have a much higher failure rate than a standard Power Supply. Granted, if you have a failure you still have a functional power supply(which is now working twice as hard and is even more likely to fail).

    Second, standard PC hardware just doesn't support multiple redundant components. Sure you can get redundant power supplies, but redundant buses or Cpu's your talking different about a totally different class of hardware(see below).

    Third, If you truly have an Enterprise application, and your asking about hardware to support your application you are already in over your head. Sorry it's just the truth. The OP is talking about building a custom solution for a mission critical application and they have to ask on slashdot about hardware solutions. What happens when(not if) the OP has a problem. The real reason that many people buy our(ImageStream's) hardware is for the support. If something doesn't work they don't have try and troubleshoot a strange Pci bus condition or an obscure Linux Kernel issue that you only see when you have +5,000 networking interfaces in a system. It's one thing if your a Google and you want to build something that just doesn't exist like the OpenFlow switches they are using in their Gscale network. But for a normal organization you are going to spend money and time to develop your custom solution and in the end if anything doesn't work, you will spend more time fixing it.

    Now if the OP still wants to do this... I would look at an ATCA (AdvancedTCA ) chassis. You can get support for a redundant dual loop back plane, multiple CPU cards, redundant power supplies and in most cases a out of band management module for the chassis. But this is VERY costly hardware. If your not budgeting at least $20k in hardware your likely not going to end-up with anything that had real redundancy.

  • Re:Server (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @12:41PM (#40246049)

    Layer 2 is switching. Layer 3 is routing.

    No matter what the marketing morons say.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears