Vol. 23, #40 - October 08, 2018 - Issue #1202
WServerNews: 10 GbE switches, network modelling, and project tracking
- Editor's Corner
- Why is my 10 GbE switch dropping frames?
- Ask Our Readers - Need to model/document my company network (new question)
- Ask Our Readers - Tracking our network ops (new question)
- Ask Our Readers - Dealing with bloatware (more responses)
- Ask Our Readers - Small SSDs and Windows/Office (another response)
- Need help from the IT pro community?
- Tip of the Week
- Testing to see if a port is open to a SCOM server when you don't have Portqry or Telnet
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Pluto rejoins the planet family
- Conference calendar
- North America
- New on Techgenix.com
- 9 essential PowerShell security scripts every admin must know
- Want to know which IT jobs are on the highway to extinction? Read on
- Configuring High Availability on the DHCP Server role
- 5 common misconceptions about Microsoft Hyper-V
- Windows 10 deployment: Pruning and pruning and pruning again
- Fun videos from Flixxy
- European Champion Of Freestyle Cycling - Viola Brand
- People Are Awesome - Best Of The Week 57
- Magician Shin Lim Stuns Jimmy Fallon at the Today Show
- A Trip Through Paris in 1896
- More articles of interest
- How can IT turn off Windows 10 automatic updates?
- VMware NSX 6.4 introduces upgrade planner, HTML5 features
- VMworld 2018 conference coverage
- It's 2018 - every company already 'does mobility,' no matter what!
- Send us your feedback
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- All You Need to Know About Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Virtualization
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's issue of WServerNews focuses on our enterprise audience with a story about commodity gigabit Ethernet switches, some thoughts on network modelling/documentation, and software that can be used for tracking networking projects. We also have a few responses to some Ask Our Readers items in last week's newsletter. Plus we have all the other usual stuff we've been doing now for oh so many years :-)
Anyways, we hope you'll enjoy reading this issue! If you have any comments or questions you can reach me at [email protected]
This story came to me from a colleague who administers a small datacenter for a company in Calgary, Alberta. He prefers to remain anonymous so we'll just call him Bob.
Bob told me that he had upgraded his company's backbone network from 1 GbE to 10 GbE because of increased bandwidth demands from user applications. After he completed the upgrade he noticed that his 10 GbE switch seemed to "freeze" occasionally during times of heavy traffic load. The freezes lasted only a fraction of a second and they appeared to occur across all of the ports on the switch. VLANs that had been configured also lost their connectivity when this happened.
Bob tried several things to fix the problem, turning of FC for example, disabling flow control on all ports, and reassigning some ports. He even thought about playing around with the MTU but decided doing this might be overkill and could make things even worse.
Since nothing he tried seemed to work, Bob began reaching out to IT pros he knew who were saavy about networking matters. When he contacted me I suggested he check the vendor's documentation for his switch to see how large the buffers were for the ports on the switch as I thought his problem might be caused by having traffic bursts overrun the buffers. I had previously heard somewhere that when too many 10 Gb frames are sent to 1 Gb host ports on the switch the result can be so many frames back to back that the buffer fills up resulting in frames being dropped. If this happens for example during a large file transfer the resulting transfer fails.
It turned out that his 10 GbE switch did indeed have a small buffer (only 4 MB) so this was definitely a possible cause of his problem as large bursts of traffic on outbound switch interfaces could likely result in congestion on the interface leading to dropped frames. I mentioned that one possible way of dealing with this might be to use split buffer pools if the switch supported it, in other words by reassigning congested interfaces to a group of ports that shared a separate buffer pool. But a simpler solution and a way to test the problem would simply be to replace the switch with one that has a bigger buffer. Unfortunately many of the so-called commodity 10 GbE switches that are marketed towards enterprise networks don't have sufficiently large buffers to enable them to handle the level of traffic the switches are spec'd as being able to handle.
The problem is complex. IETF standards for bandwidth testing still aren't that well developed when it comes to the phenomenon of TCP burst traffic. And when it comes to layer 2 switch design it also somewhat surprisingly turns out that having too much buffer in a switch can cause its own set of traffic problems. I could probably understand why this happens if I tried hard enough, but I haven't had my morning coffee yet so I'll shelve that subject for today.
Anyways, Bob was tired of fiddling around so he decided to try my second suggestion i.e. by throwing more money at the problem and trading up for a more expensive switch from the same vendor, one that had a larger buffer. The result? The problem went away.
For an explanation of how buffer size can impact switch interfaces, this article from ESnet may be instructive:
Alberto from New Jersey asked us to ask our readers for their suggestions on the following subject:
Hello Wservernews! I've been asked to model/document our company's network - in gory detail - e.g. from the physical network conduits on our corporate campus (4 buildings) to the configuration of each port on a router, switch or patch panel. ip phone system too, all the links and media types and so on. Have any of your readers done anything like this themselves? What software tools would you recommend for doing it? Someone suggested Visio with snmpwalk but we have some money in our budget i can throw at this problem so i'd rather have something commercial and robust that will cover all bases we need covered. Thoughts?
If any of our enterprise/datacenter admins can suggest something here for Alberto please email us at [email protected]
A reader named David who works for a Large Company asks us:
What do newsletter readers who manage operations for their corporate network use for tracking configuration change requests, helpdesk support tickets, and such? In another Large Company I worked for we used Request Tracker:
but what else is out there? I'm newly hired and mgmt wants something robust to replace their current collection of bandaids…thanks.
Got any software and/or cloud solutions to recommend that Dave check out? Email us at [email protected]
Two weeks ago Anya from Tennessee asked us the following question:
Hi! I've recently been asked to take on doing part-time IT for the small business where I work in administration. We recently decided to hire new staff and I'm going to need to buy a few new desktops and laptops from them from our local Office Depot. I have a question about bloatware (crapware?) that maybe some of your readers can help me out with please. When you buy a new computer for your business is it really important to remove any preinstalled software you don't need before you give the computer to an employee for doing work? What kind of bloatware should be removed and which is OK to leave on the computer?? What's the best way to find and remove bloatware from a computer? Is there a tool available for doing this?? Or is all this a non-issue waste of time? Please help, I'm proficient in using Windows but not much else! Thanks!
Last week we heard form several of our readers who had responded to Anya's question, and this week we received a couple more responses. First off here is what Pieter from the Netherlands says:
Hi Mitch, My 2 cents on bloatware..
Every manufacturer has it's own set of bloatware…. So it's hard to give a generic advise…
I think Dell has very limited bloatware depend on their model range.. (vostro-latitude-optiplex-workstation) arrive quite clean, I just install dell command utility to keep drivers and bios up to date.
With HP I remove all the bloatware, just keep hp software update for same reason as with Dell.
Toshiba and Acer are more bad… I just disable all in the taskmanager-startup group ….
Met vriendelijke groet, PieterGreat suggestion Peiter, thanks! Here is a link to an article from Tech Advisor on how to remove Windows 10 startup programs:
And another reader named Michael offered this suggestion:
for bloatware, he can try this free program:
b c -> bulk crap
also, it's cool, not a big deal, but copy / paste
did not quite work as intended with my answer.
but again, no big deal. it is what it is.
take care and thanks again!!
Very cool, thanks!
Also two weeks ago we received this question from Robert who works in IT for a company in Toronto, Canada:What's the minimum disk size needed for a laptop with SSD that has Windows 10 and Office 2016 installed? Reason I ask is because we have two Lenovos with 128 gb drives that came with Office 2016 preinstalled and we're having trouble updating them because of low disk space. My boss wants to buy more of these machines because they're a cheap but IME upgrading/upgrading them is a nightmare even when I try to follow this support article:
What do other WServerNews subscribers do and recommend on this matter? Thanks.
Several of our readers weighed in on this topic last week, and here is one more comment from Simon who works in Systems & Technology for a large church in Atlanta, Georgia:
I prefer to use Disk Cleanup to remove the extraneous files. I downloaded and ran Temp File Cleaner, then ran Disk Cleanup -- it found another 6+ GB to delete. We have Dell 3020 desktops here with 500GB hard drives. To speed up the performance, I use the free Auslogics tools to clean up the registry and defrag the disk. After the defragging, I reduce the hard drive size to 100GB and this is more than sufficient for 95% of the users. Maybe we will replace some of the hard drives with SSDs as the price has fallen so much!
Thanks for the tips in the newsletter -- always helpful!
WServerNews goes out each week to more than 500,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? Ask Our Readers by emailing your problems and/or questions to us at [email protected]
Got any IT pro tips you'd like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
This week's tip can be found on Kevin Holman's System Center Blog on TechNet.
Testing to see if a port is open to a SCOM server when you don't have Portqry or Telnet
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
This white paper shows the features of the Windows Server 2016 regarding deduplication and offered advantages. Learn how to activate and use them.
This free tool reports on all accounts that have been inactive for more than a specified number of days and can even automatically deactivate those accounts.
Using VMware or Hyper-V? Grab your FOREVER Free copy of Altaro VM Backup!
PerfView is a performance-analysis tool that helps isolate CPU- and memory-related performance issues:
Tigertoolbox is the GitHub repository for the SQL Server Tiger Team:
Sysinternals ProcDump now includes the ability to take capture multiple dumps sizes which can be useful when capturing crash dumps of applications susceptible to termination due to unresponsiveness:
Last week's factoid and question was this:
Fact: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerts consumers and retailers of the potential for serious injury from eating, drinking, or handling food products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen at the point of sale, immediately before consumption.
Question: Have any readers ever used or played with liquid nitrogen?
Several of our readers responded to this one with personal stories from their early years. For example Don from Iowa said:
Back when I was in high school a long time ago. We took a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. There were a lot of amazing things including a Mad Scientist Lab. The guy was using liquid nitrogen he would dip a banana in and use it to hammer in a nail. He also dipped in a flower, then he shattered it on the table. Anyway I was amazed at the time.
Great story though I can think of better things to do with a banana…
And Bob from Los Angeles said:
In the 60's, I visited an uncle who worked for GE. He took me to a lab that was doing work for the Gemini project and one of the techs there showed me how liquid Nitrogen worked. He did the usual things with it. Put a ball in it and dropped it on the floor where is shattered into many pieces. Put a flower in and then broke it. What I really remember was that when he was done, he took the bucket and then spilled it down the hallway. All of a sudden, you could hear people yell what was coming in under their doors.
Hahaha good story, thanks! If any other readers have "cool" (actually very cold!) stories like this please send them to us at [email protected]
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
Fact: New research from the University of Central Florida in Orlando suggest that the IAU decision in 2006 to demote Pluto from being called a planet was a mistake i.e. Pluto should still be called a planet -- hooray!!
Question: How do you think Plutonians are reacting to this news?
Email your answer to [email protected]
>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
IoT Security Summit -- Oct 15-18 in Dallas, Texas
IT/Dev Connections -- Oct 15-18 in Dallas, Texas USA
>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
VMworld Europe -- Nov 5-8 in Barcelona, Spain
Cybersecurity Leadership Summit -- Nov 12-14 in Berlin, Germany
European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference -- Nov 26-29 in Copenhagen, Denmark
>> Got an IT conference happening in Australia or Asia that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
No conferences listed at present.
9 essential PowerShell security scripts every admin must know
If you're not using Microsoft's PowerShell tool, you should be. These nine scripts and modules can help keep your network secure.
Want to know which IT jobs are on the highway to extinction? Read on
Technology has disrupted an array of industries. But the creators of this disruption face a harsh truth: Many IT jobs are also under risk of extinction.
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5 common misconceptions about Microsoft Hyper-V
What you think you know about Hyper-V may be wrong. Let's correct five misconceptions about Microsoft Hyper-V once and for all.
Windows 10 deployment: Pruning and pruning and pruning again
It used to be easy to create a base image for Windows deployment. But with Windows 10 deployment, you have to prune the OS after each version update.
European Champion Of Freestyle Cycling - Viola Brand
People Are Awesome - Best Of The Week 57
Amazing people doing gymnastics, bicycling, hoola-hoop, acrobatics, breakdancing and more:
Magician Shin Lim Stuns Jimmy Fallon at the Today Show
America's Got Talent Winner Shin Lim stuns Jimmy Fallon with a magic trick at the Today Show:
A Trip Through Paris in 1896
Travel back in time and take a stroll through Paris during the "Belle Epoque' 122 years ago:
How can IT turn off Windows 10 automatic updates?
In some cases, IT pros should disable Windows 10 updates to gain control over the process. They can use methods such as editing group policies and setting a metered connection. Learn how here.
VMware NSX 6.4 introduces upgrade planner, HTML5 features
VMware NSX features new to 6.4 include an upgrade planner and improved firewall functionality. Users can access these features from vSphere Client, which includes new HTML5 components.
VMworld 2018 conference coverage
Check out this guide for news and updates about VMware's software-defined data center and virtualization offerings, the company's cloud computing and container strategy, and its latest advancements in desktop and end-user computing.
It's 2018 - every company already 'does mobility,' no matter what!
Don't have EMM, custom apps, or a 'mobile center of excellence'? Guess what, you've still gone mobile!
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]
WServerNews - Editors
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7www.mtit.com.Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.