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We have two dell powerconnect 5324 (about 5-6 years old).

For the last few weeks, we have been seeing connectivity warnings for 2-3 minutes ata time for unkonwn reason (colo says everything is fine, our IT manager says there is nothing wrong with the severs..

Where should we be looking to rule out the switch as the source of the problem? We are in the process of setting up Nagios/Cacti in the next week to collect more info.

Also, IT is asking for a new layer 3 switch, is this really neccesary with 6 server, san, tape drive?

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You really ought to go back and "accept" answers to your previous questions. Having a "0% accept rate" isn't doing you any favors at the moment. –  EEAA Feb 25 '12 at 17:00
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Your question is quite localized. Debug the switch, check for warnings in the switch his logs, stress test it. Swap the switch with a spare one and see if it works the same, if so you can rule out the switch. Also "6 servers san and tape drive" is not near enough info to tell you if it's necessary. Level 3 switches are needed when you need routing besides switching on the device. But again we don't know the situation. If you are not sure, get yourself someone in there that knows what he's doing and let him do the assessment. –  Lucas Kauffman Feb 25 '12 at 17:02

2 Answers 2

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Equipment which is over 5 years old is old. If this is critical infrastructure, you should replace it at the slightest suspicion, if not even pro-actively, without any further questions asked.

Also, IT is asking for a new layer 3 switch

The Dell PowerConnect 5324 is an L2 switch, so a simple drop-in replacement would not require an L3 switch. Of course, you might have a use case for an L3 switch nonetheless, but nobody aside from people acquainted with your setup and your expansion plans would know this.

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Where should we be looking to rule out the switch as the source of the problem?

Monitoring, monitoring, monitoring. From as many points as you can, to as many points as you can, so that you have multiple data points to help point you to a culprit.

Also, IT is asking for a new layer 3 switch, is this really neccesary with 6 server, san, tape drive?

There's no way for us to answer this. It completely depends on what the use case is, what other switch/routing equipment is involved, and how traffic needs to flow.

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