So I recently got the chance to purchase the Dell S4048-ON 10/40Gb ethernet switch for the lab, and due to how crazy powerful this switch is, I just had to take a look at what’s inside. After you take out all 23 of the case screws, you can simply lift up the top cover to reveal 3 boards.
The board on the left is actually the switch itself, the board in the middle is the processor board equipped with 2GB of ram and an 8GB SSD, and the board on the right controls the 3 hot-swap fan modules that this system has. Here is a nice closeup of that processing board. From my understanding, the processor board controls the switch chips on the main board, and does not actually directly interface with the ethernet ports on the front, which I find interesting.
Taking the four screws out and removing the processor board reveals a pretty bare board underneath. You can see the vertical connector that the processor module interfaces with on the left, and the connector that links the fan board to the switch board in the middle.
Looking now at the bottom side of the processor board, you can see that there are pads for a sata data+power connector. I’m not sure if any switches on the dell line actually have a full 2.5″ sata connector/drive on them, but it just shows how crazy we’ve come in terms of seemingly simple devices like ethernet switches.
Here’s that 2GB of ECC DDR3 memory I was talking about. Pretty basic. I bet you it can be upgraded to 4GB or even 8GB, but at this point I don’t see any reason to do so.
And finally here’s the 8GB SSD I was talking about. According to its datasheet it uses an 8GB MLC flash chip and uses their own controller. It also runs at SATA-III speeds, which is expected for a switch like this.
So that’s a tour of the insides of the Dell S4048-ON Switch. It’s a very nice switch with a really powerful CLI, and I hope to be posting more about it in the future.