Dennis Smith Hey Guys welcome to the chat today
Dennis Smith we're going to give it a few minutes to let everyone join
Kong Yang Hi everyone!
hypervfan Hi Kong!
Achmad_at_Dell Hey Kong
MichaelD Afternoon gents
Kong Yang Hey Tom and Achmad :-) Hope that everyone is well!
Achmad_at_Dell All good here, thanks. You guys?
Dennis Smith Ok guys, thanks for joining today!
Dennis Smith The chat today will be focused on gathering feedback for the future of Dell Networking products
Kong Yang All is well in DTC world :-)
Dennis Smith We have the Experience design group with us today....
Dennis Smith would you guys like to introduce yourselves?
Experience Design Group at Dell Hi, We are the Experience Design Group and we focus on the end to end customer experience for our products. This includes things such as product aesthetics, usability, out of box experience, application of brand, and labeling. We want to spend some time today discussing "Speed of Deployment" for our Networking products.
erson hi all
Dennis Smith Hi Erson
Lance Boley Hey Erson ...
Experience Design Group at Dell Hi Erson - thanks for the feedback on our UI
hypervfan Hi Erson
Experience Design Group at Dell we are working on getting you feedback from our software team on your questions
erson great
Dennis Smith Well we all know our customers have great insights so I am sure the the design group has a few questions they would like to ask
Achmad_at_Dell Might it be okay to share some of that feedback with those of us not in the original thread?
Experience Design Group at Dell sure - we will make sure to do that
Achmad_at_Dell The original requests, that is....
Experience Design Group at Dell We have a list of specific questions to ask, but first we want to open it up for any high level items of feedback on our Networking customer experience
Experience Design Group at Dell Does anyone have any feedback to share before we jump into the questions?
Dennis Smith wow..none of you guys have any initial feedback :)
erson Thought about another thing when I drove home from work today.
Experience Design Group at Dell what are we doing well... and what can we do better?
Matt - @virtualhints We mostly just have the chassis based switches (m6220 and m8428). The networking guys don't really like to touch them, but that is largely because it is different. We set them up and don't touch them much. I don't remember anything blatantly painful in the process.
Lance Boley I have one, if we are talking about "Speed of Deployment". Some of the newer switches are coming with rail kits, is this going to be something on all switches soon?
erson Backside views of the rack switches the GUI.


Experience Design Group at Dell Hi Lance, we are looking to roll this out across as many platforms as we can
Ryan I find the web UI on our PowerConnect switches (5424s) to be very slow
erson The GUI update from boring old slow to new spiffy fast black UI was great.
Experience Design Group at Dell It will likely not make it onto every system due to constraint but expect to see it on the majority of our products going forward
Ryan sounds like there's a firmware update I need to get, erson? :)
erson Ryan: no spiffy black web UI for you I'm afraid
Experience Design Group at Dell Lance, do you see a big benefit in having the rail kits?
erson nor for the 6200 series
Ryan shoot
Matt - @virtualhints Second erson's comment about the shift to the black based interface being a fanstastic move.
erson but pretty much everything else got an update and everything recently released have it
Lance Boley I do, as the switches are getting larger and do more, they are harder to rack even with two people. Could be a one person job.
erson Which of the new switches have rail kits?
MichaelD For the chassis based switches a feature that would ease deployment would be passing the blade slot # or name thru to the port name.
Ryan my feedback will probably not be worthwhile, then, since it sounds like it has already been superseded by something newer and better for newer switches
erson I got the PC7048R-RA but it doesn't come with a rail kit, kinda felt it would have been nice on that one.
Experience Design Group at Dell Is one person lift/deployment important in your data center? Is rail kit important for 2 post racks as well as 4 post... or only 4 post?
Ryan rapid rails are simply fantastic
erson but since I got the Reverse Airflow perhaps just that one didn't have a rail kit?
Experience Design Group at Dell Erson, the 8100 series were the first products that we have rolled out with the sliding rail kits
Experience Design Group at Dell you will see more in the future
erson ok
Ryan one-person lift is important for me personally (though I wouldn't call what we have a "datacenter"! :)
Experience Design Group at Dell Is there any way that we could improve the rail kit beyond what it is today?
Matt - @virtualhints Rapid Rails are awesome. Just use those.
MichaelD Haven't seen the rail kit, but if it is similar to the Rapid Rails that would make 1 person installs on most switches possible.
Ryan mostly it's the snap-in aspect of rapid rails that make them so great... any time spent racking on screws, rack nuts, etc. is frustrating and a time drain
Ryan for switches, I'm not sure *sliding* is super important, but *quick*, single-person racking is great
erson I'll try again - Graphical view of the backside of the switch in web UI would great. Most rack switches has modules and/or redundant power-inputs and so forth. Getting a graphical view over that would be nice.
Experience Design Group at Dell Beyond rail kits - is tool-less deplyment important? For example would you see value in replacing the thumbscrews with a latch mechanism?
Ryan latches over screws any day, I think
Matt - @virtualhints I see latches over thumb screws as a plus, but not a huge one. Toolless is a bigger deal than screwless.
Dennis Smith Hey Erson, this is mostly on the hardware side, but we'll take that feedback and pass it along. Maybe we'll do another one of these with the UI team
Ryan agreed--toolless
Experience Design Group at Dell For anyone who is interested in providing more formal feedback we have a survey that we would like you to fill out -
erson @Dennis:OK, then you could revive the oldie but goldie request of mine to further increase the information in the CMC (and best of all inside the switch GUI also) to more clearly display how server blade nics ports are mapped to internal ports on I/O-modules.
Experience Design Group at Dell You can also follow up on this conversation with any additional ideas or comments on our idea storm thread -
Dennis Smith will do...I'll track that down and see what came of the request :)
Experience Design Group at Dell If there are no further comments on racking / rail kits, our next question is around cable management
Peter Tsai @Erson - Let me bug the CMC guys about that oldie but goodie
erson @Dennis:since that is something Dell is trying to convey in a couple of documents it's obviously a pain point that customers have a problem with. It's not hard to figure it out, but it's definately not smooooth.
Experience Design Group at Dell Do you prefer for Dell to provide a cable management solution with our networking products or do you already have solution as part of your infrastructure?
Experience Design Group at Dell Erson, I know this is an area we are working on improving right now
erson I've tried getting my sales rep to tell me about rack cable management accessories but Dell doesn't seem to have much in that department.
Ryan I think there is potential here for some customers
Experience Design Group at Dell That is correct - we do not currently have an offering in this space
MichaelD We just went through it with our sales rep and the response was to order 3rd party
Experience Design Group at Dell What type of a solution are you looking for? What would make a great cable management kit?
Ryan maybe I'm alone, but in the 24 port switches, it would be great if they were laid out across the entire width of the switch, rather than doubled-up on one side
erson @EDGatDell: I can imagine this is much improved on the I/O Aggregator since it apparently have it's configuration GUI inside the CMC. Obviously that would be awesome in the future, if you could configure all blade switches directly inside the CMC.
Ryan ports, I mean
Experience Design Group at Dell Ryan, that is good feedback on the 24 port switch
erson I agree with Ryan. A layout that corresponds to the layout of the patch panels would be preferable, and 24 ports on the full width would be desirable.
Experience Design Group at Dell What is it that makes you prefer the ports all the way across instead of being all on one side? Cable routing?
Ryan it matches the patch panels better, typically
hypervfan Easier access as well
Ryan otherwise you end up with everything bunched at one end
erson @EDGatDell:well, cable management is a beast. You need a good deal of options so that everyone could build a cable management solution that meets their equirements based on the hardware they have in the rack.
Ryan yes--easier access, definitely
Experience Design Group at Dell ok, that makes sense
Ryan this is not cable management exactly, but here's an idea...
Ryan a small display panel (could be just a single-line text display like on the PowerEdge servers) that would provide information about a port
erson But vertical cable channels in the 0U space in the back of the rack would solve my current problem. Prongs on both sides and a lid.
Ryan if you could provide IP, that would be fantastic
erson Ryan is firing on all cylinders... I agree
erson Horizontal 1U cable managers to route cables to switches, the usual kind.
MichaelD One of my biggest complaints with many cable management designs is poor quality materials & designs that can't handle the weight of the cables it is supposed to.
Matt - @virtualhints I have never used a cable management solution I didn't hate.
erson I want to be able to get a full rack solution including those options directly from Dell instead of going to 3rd party vendors like Panduit, Middle Atlantic and others to find the cable management solution I want
Experience Design Group at Dell Michael, is there a cable management arm that is the best in the industry that we should look at?
Experience Design Group at Dell Ryan and Erson, what else would you like to display on the LCD? I think that is a great idea!
Matt - @virtualhints (I should clarify, I've never used *built in* cable management that I didn't hate).
Experience Design Group at Dell on our PowerEdge products we also show error codes, service tag info.... etc.
Ryan I've moved away from cable management recently to a staggered switch - patch panel - switch layout, using 1' patches in between--no cable management troughs and fingers anymore, and would never go back
Ryan MAC, management IP addy of the switch, potentially the ability (could turn this on or off) to set the switch IP
erson Ryan, same here. 1U patch, 48-port switch, 1U patch and 0.5" patches between
Ryan like you can set the IP via the control panel on a printer--no digging out the serial cable to set the IP
MichaelD Not sure about arm designs as I've only used Dell's there and it's a love/hate relationship.... but for horizontal management of cables I'm hopeful that Panduit's NetManager High Capacity model will work for our upcoming install
Ryan erson--I wanted to do the 6" patches, but I read somewhere that there's a minimum length for ethernet cables of 1' (totally news to me)
Ryan I wouldn't have found that out if our cable vendor hadn't run into trouble getting 6" patches, though!
erson Ryan: cable vendors seems to disagree, and I haven't had a problem
Ryan yeah, it's probably fine... I had never heard that before either; something about near-end crosstalk
erson I'm not sure I would like to replace any of the small LEDs with a LCD, they are great for a quick status view. I'm kinda backtracking on the LCD, especially if it cuts down on front ports.:)
Experience Design Group at Dell Those are all good ideas - at a higher level, how would you describe a good cable management solution in a few words?
Ryan I agree re LED/LCD--if it were a tradeoff, then no... if you had both, then yes
Ryan (mostly I just want to know the IP for sure before I unplug a cable)
Experience Design Group at Dell Erson, What would you think about being able to plug in an option display instead of having the LCD take up space on the front of the switch?
Experience Design Group at Dell we would not use an LCD to replace the specific LEDs for the ports - those would still have a lot of value.
Matt - @virtualhints I don't like the idea of a plug-in optional display.
erson I wasn't talking about RJ-45 port LEDs but the other small LEDs in the upper right corner. They are great for an instant overview, all green = good, something red = not good.
Ryan I don't really know about cable management... I just associate them with tedious cable-wrangling and get chewed-up hands
Ryan the first cable that you run through goes so quickly
Ryan but as they get full, they're just a pain to deal with
Experience Design Group at Dell Erson, do you see value in the port LED's as well or would you be happy with the single status LED?
Ryan if there were a good alternative, I'd look at it, but I much prefer the short patch approach personally
erson I would replace the DB-9/RJ-45 with a USB. If I don't have to use serial-to-USB-converters I would be a happy man. Can never to seem to find my stash of converters when I need them. :)
Experience Design Group at Dell Good to know - Thanks
Ryan yes--standard cables for config would be great
Ryan or... config via a "control panel" would also be handy
Experience Design Group at Dell At this point we would like to ask some questions about color coding. Do any of you have a color coding strategy that works really well?
Matt - @virtualhints Oh, that is some feedback I have. Get rid of the evil USB serial port on the switches. Use something that other companies use.
Matt - @virtualhints That long Serial to serial (with 1 end being USB) has confused more than 1 person here.
Matt - @virtualhints Just put a serial port or an RJ-45 on the switch.
Matt - @virtualhints s/serial port/DB-9
erson Well, perhaps the individual port LEDs are almost meaningless since pretty much everything is gigabit these days. I don't need any visual cues by looking at the switch if some ports are running at 100Mbit or 1Gbit.
Ryan I still appreciate the port LEDs--sometimes something *should* be running at 1 Gb but isn't, for whatever reason
Experience Design Group at Dell Matt, can you provide clarification on what the evil USB serial port is?
Ryan I wish I could say I have a good color scheme, but it usually just means I don't have the cable color I want when I need it
Matt - @virtualhints On the m6220 it doesn't have a standard serial port. It has a USB port that talks serial.
Matt - @virtualhints
erson Matt: same on the M6348 and M8024-k
Matt - @virtualhints That is wrong wrong wrong wrong.
Experience Design Group at Dell Ok we are with you now
Matt - @virtualhints In my not so humble, unfiltered opinion.
Matt - @virtualhints :)
Experience Design Group at Dell We will definitely follow up on that with the engineering team
Experience Design Group at Dell Does anyone else have feedback on a good color coding strategy?
Peter Tsai @Erson - rewind the conversation 30 mins..... got feedback that yes I/O Aggregator will enable configuration and much management functionality from CMC, however the other Dell Force 10 MXL offering doesn't have that ability. It's designed to be managed
erson We also have a cable color scheme but it isn't based on any standard or so. Just don't touch red ones. :)
MichaelD On the color coding topic, we picked 3 colors at random for our needs:Blue - Data, Red - iSCSI and Yellow - IP KVM
Matt - @virtualhints Are you talking port based coding (ie:orange paint around serial ports, grey around eithernet) or are you talking about port LED based (ie:blue for GigE, green for 100Mbit and death red for 10 Mbit)?
Ryan ha! same here--beware of red :)
Experience Design Group at Dell Should SFP modules be color coded?
erson Peter Tsai: yes, but the I/O Aggregator is a special kind of beast compared to the regular blade switches so that is fully understandable.
erson @EDGatDell: not neccessary for me
Matt - @virtualhints I could see benefit to standardising SFP is color X and SFP+ is color Y.
MichaelD I could see there being some value in that, but I could also see it getting out of hand as new SFPs came to market
Experience Design Group at Dell no need to differentiate SFP's by wave length?
erson Hmm, could agree with Matt on that though. That is the mistake that could be solved by color coding or printing.
Matt - @virtualhints I was thinking a border around the port on the switch, but it makes sense to extend that color scheme to the modules. That leaves the SR/LR problem though.
Matt - @virtualhints I know some LR optics have the release lever yellow.
Experience Design Group at Dell Ok great that really helps us
Experience Design Group at Dell Our last question for you today is how can Dell differentiate ourselves from our competitors? What problems can we solve for you?
erson Another suggestion is that all QSFP+ cables have the wording "I feeld the need for speed" printed on them... or an embedded running LEDs cable. Some pizazz to diffrentiate the fast stuff from the slow runs. :)
Matt - @virtualhints +1 on the strobing LED runs.
Peter Tsai Hey guys, I know some of you have to run in a couple of minutes. After you answer the last question, remember that you can give more feedback: Dell Networking Survey: the future of Dell Networking IdeaStorm Session:
MichaelD One need I see is better marketing efforts to dissuade FUD coming from other vendors, inparticular around support
erson EDGatDell:I feel that the PowerConnect line has made some excellent releases recently compared to other vendors. The 8100 series are impressive. The big competitors have nothing to really match it, and if they do, the loose big time on price.
Peter Tsai
Peter Tsai
erson Another thing, the networking guides are great. More solution-based networking setup whitepapers are always welcome.
Experience Design Group at Dell Thank you so much for your time today
Experience Design Group at Dell All of your feedback has been very helpful and it will definitely impact our future products
Matt - @virtualhints Thanks for the opportunity to give feedback. It is awesome to see a company seeking out customer feedback rather than waiting for us to come screaming.
Dennis Smith Great feedback from everyone today! Thanks for joining and remember this transcript will be on later this week! Join us next week for a chat on convergence!
MichaelD Second Matt's sentiments, nice to be involved on the front end.
erson EDGatDell: Thanks guys! Great to be able to reach you directly.
Peter Tsai Thanks for joining. Thanks for all the great feedback erson, MichaelD, Matt
Experience Design Group at Dell If you have any additional comment feel free to email me at
Experience Design Group at Dell
Ryan thank you! :)
Experience Design Group at Dell Thanks have a great day! We are signing off.