…then don't get hacked!

“I need to add NICs to the monitoring machines,” he says. I always loathe greetings like this, because the customer is telling me how to do things and not what they want to do. “Tell me what to order. What do you want to support?”

Well, that’s 50% better. Asking me what I want to support is a good start. Especially on these machines. The “monitoring” machines are fifteen machines scattered all over the region to monitor network links. Our network engineers use them to diagnose problems, and when they are idle they send traffic back and forth between each other to monitor link speeds and throughput. We don’t have terminal servers or KVM-over-IP out there, so changes to these machines need to be thought through so we don’t lose the machines.

And yes, adding NICs means someone has to go to all these machines. Well, there’s local IT staff where these boxes are, but I don’t want to walk fifteen people through this process.

“Two NICs not good enough for you?” I retort.

“It isn’t the number of NICs, I need gigabit NICs.”

“They are gigabit, actually.”


“Yeah. Everything Dell has shipped in the last five years has gigabit NICs built in.”

“Oh, that makes this a lot easier, then. I need to run them at gigabit.”

“I thought the switches they are on are only 10/100.”

“Oh, no, they can do gigabit.”

I love gigabit networking. First, it’s fast. Second, and a huge second, it does the right thing with autonegotiation. Our switches often don’t do the right thing with 10/100 half/full duplex negotiation, so it seems like we spend a lot of time getting an engineer to park the port at 100 full, or some speed we know. Gigabit only autonegotiates. And the only option it has is 1000 full duplex. If you set the port to 1000 full you get the right thing. If you set it to autonegotiate you get the right thing. I love gigabit because it just does the right thing. You basically cannot screw it up.

So when I have an option to do gigabit, I opt for it, because it reduces bullshit in my life.

“Okay, it’s pretty easy to change. I’ll set the machine to reboot with the right settings, and while it’s booting you can change the port. Just as an aside, though, why didn’t we do gigabit when we installed the machines? Didn’t we have all kinds of problems with link speed and duplex?”

“Yeah, we did, but I don’t like running things at gigabit.”

WTF. He’s serious, too. Okay, I’ll bite.


“Well, when the machines get hacked they DDoS things that much faster.”

Actually, I don’t keep wheels on my Jeep. Why? Oh, it’s simple: when it gets stolen they’d be able to drive it away!

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