Stories by John Bass

Quagga router sets an acceptable pace

Open source routing software projects have been receiving attention lately as viable, inexpensive platforms for midlevel routing deployments. But are they practical for enterprise network managers used to the performance levels and feature bells and whistles served up by commercial router vendors?

Cisco Catalyst 3750 stackable switches

With the introduction of the proprietary StackWise interconnect technology that ties its new line of Catalyst 3750 switches together, Cisco Systems has filled the gap between its small, stand-alone Ethernet switches and its large, modular chassis and blade switches.

D-Link's Layer 2 Switch Gets Gigabit

D-Link Systems Inc.'s relatively low-cost Layer 2 switch, with its 24, 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet uplink, is an overall solid access point switch. But our tests demonstrate that it's got a few price/performance trade-offs.

A Look at Eight-Way Server Scalability

Intel Corp.-based servers that sport eight CPUs worth the money? These souped up boxes have been pitched by their makers as offering great gains in performance in the enterprise server market, but historically the scalability of these eight-way machines has been less than stellar. Older eight-way architectures saw only a 30 percent to 60 percent increase in performance, but costs were running about three times as high as users moved up from four-way machines.

Power at the Low-End

The new Dell Computer Corp. PowerEdge 2400 is a workgroup server that packs plenty of power and sports redundancy features that could easily push it into the departmental server space.

Remote Control Hardware Options

Managing servers used to be a time-consuming and costly affair. Remote-control solutions made it easier to maintain the servers, but they brought up some new concerns. Software solutions are simple to install and are inexpensive, but they use precious server clock cycles by loading the server with another process to service. If this is unattractive to you, hardware-based products for remote control offer another option.

Big Little Server

Good things still come in small packages. Compaq Computer Corp.'s ProLiant 6400 is an enterprise server in a rack-mount form factor. It earned a 9.3 score in our testing, with the best combination of performance and features of any enterprise class server we have tested so far. The 6400 isn't the best-performing server we've tested in all performance categories, but its high-performance RAID controller and small form factor make it an attractive offering.