Hewlett-Packard (HP) ProCurve Support Is the Best. Period.

I am astounded as to the lengths that Spencer, the tech who is handling my case where we are working to address extremely slow network performance, will go. The service we are getting is incredible, and this is all included just because we purchased ProCurve equipment. Combine this with their lifetime warranty, and this is an “I will never purchase another manufacturer’s switch again” situation.
Seriously, I’ve never met a vendor who would provide such service and support for free. I still cannot believe it. No contracts to purchase, no nothing. Just because we have all HP equipment on the LAN, we’re getting phenomenal service. Other vendors would do well to follow ProCurve’s example.

Switch Troubleshooting for Fun and Profit

I spent an entire day troubleshooting odd network problems at a local client last Friday. The symptoms were:

  • Users could not
    • get their email
    • access files on the server
    • log on successfully
  • Internet access was sluggish, for some users, but fine for others.
  • Software deployments from across the networks (content filtering software, Ghost images, GPO-deployed packages) would not deploy.
  • Ping times from a workstation to a server (across 5 switches) ranged anywhere from <1ms to several thousand ms, or just plain timeouts.
  • Ping times from a workstation to another workstation, connected on the same switch, were only marginally better, resulting in anything from 1ms to frequent timeouts and dropped packets.
  • Ping times to the local switch, to which the servers were plugged in, ranged from 1ms to several hundred ms.

Several hours of troubleshooting resulted in the following highlights:

  • After two hours of capturing packets, 30% of all network traffic was ARP. This is with only a handful of desktop machines powered on. Not good.
  • Rebooting one switch made a huge difference, and all of a sudden network traffic was working again. However, things were still slow on occasion.

So tomorrow I will be making some VLANs to cut down on the broadcast traffic across these eight or so switches. Fun!

Current Thoughts on Pownce

I decided to just post this excerpt from a conversation I’m having with friends over on Pownce.

I’m actually more partial to Facebook and Twitter now, for a couple of reasons. Both of them support a mobile interface, and although this is really minor, I hate the fact that I cannot login via the Pownce homepage – I need to hit pownce.com/login before my username and password ever work. Annoying. Facebook’s customization is also nice too. It seems to me that most of the social networking tools are trying to either kill Facebook, or to strike the right balance between Facebook and Twitter. That’s how Pownce feels to me now, only I’m not seeing the advantage of using it over Facebook, except that it’s nice enough to include messages in my email notifications.

Facebook has appeal to me for several reasons right now:

  • I can add lots of cool apps to it
  • I have more friends on Facebook than any other social network except LinkedIn, but those aren’t all “friends,” they’re “contacts.”
  • Facebook has a mobile interface. Pownce doesn’t.

Those are the big ones. I guess the place where my friends are is the biggest factor. What’s the use of a social network if there’s nobody in it?

Social Networking Update

So, in the span of a few weeks, I’ve gone from having nearly no social networking experience to having accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Del.icio.us, and Flickr. Aside from always thinking I’m supposed to spell Twitter with no ‘e’, the hardest parts have been deciding where to post things, and how to aggregate all this stuff, as well as my blog. I suppose, if I sign up for a couple more services, then I can follow this article and post all of my Twitters and Jaikus and Pownces at the same time. I could even include my Tumbleblogs from Tumblr, except that I don’t have a Tumblr account. Not yet anyway. I’ll probably have one by tomorrow. Of course, they would all wind up in my Facebook profile, but then I’d have three or for duplicate entries for everything I did. Talk about information overload.
Right now, I can display my Twitter and Jaiku posts in my Facebook profile, but the only Pownce application I can find for Facebook is currently broken.
I’ve been thinking about turning my personal blog (or at least, the articles I mark as “Personal”) into entries on my Facebook profile. That would let me share all of the gory, personal details that nobody wants to read with only my closest friends! (Seriously, who wants to read all these self-important personal updates? Do you really care what kind of toothpaste I’m using?)