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Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review

Supermicro's SSE-X33TR switch brings 48 10GBASE-T ports to the top of the rack with four 40GbE expansion ports. Come check out Chris' full review.

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Wed, Sep 24 2014 4:10 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:59 PM CST
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Supermicro

Introduction & Specifications, Pricing and Availability

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VIEW GALLERY - 47 IMAGES

You may have noticed the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR in our SMB and SME NAS reviews. Supermicro was kind enough to help us scale our network so we could test a wider range of network storage products. We're reviewing the Quanta MESOS CB220 Cluster-in-a-Box NAS currently, and without the SSE-X3348TR, that review won't happen.

The SSE-X3348T and SSE-X3348TR both include forty-eight 10GBase-T (RJ45) ports, four QSFP 40GbE ports and two failover management ports to the top of the rack. The difference between the SSD-X3348T and the SSE-X3348TR is the direction of the air flow. The SSE-X3348TR (R for Reverse) is a back of rack switch that pulls air from the front of the race and exhausts the heat at the rear of the rack. Typically we would call the exhaust side the front of the switch. The reverse airflow version fit our system perfectly.

Let's take a look at the specifications and the features of this top-of-rack switch.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

Supermicro has an extensive line of data switches. Above, Forest Preston, Supermicro Senior Product Manager, Top of Rack Data Switches, talks about the 2014 product switch line.

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The SSE-X3348TR leaves us with a lot to go over today. Armed with 48 energy efficient 10GBase-T ports for rack down connectivity and four 40GbE QSFP ports for uplink connectivity, the switch tops off a custom Supermicro rack nicely and prepares the rack for easy integration.

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Just in case the specifications sheet didn't cover all of the bells and whistles, the SSE-X3348TR also lists a section of features.

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Supermicro doesn't just offer manuals that cover what each feature does, but the company also offers configuration guides that walk users through setting up and configuring advanced features. Over the last two decades, I've been involved in computers and owned several enterprise network products from 3Com, Extreme Networks, HP, Dell and Mellanox to name a few. None of those products included this level of detail in the printable materials.

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Shopping online with Google, we managed to find the SSE-X3348TR for just over $12,000. We wanted to compare the SSD-X3348TR price to one of the few similarly configured switches on the market and came up with the Dell S4820T, a new switch from the Force 10 team that Dell acquired. The S48020T uses the same 48 10GBaseT with 4 QSFP 40GbE ports. The S4820T costs $35,372 at the time of writing.

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We'll look at the accessory package in detail later in the review. The optional accessories are the rackmount rail kits.

PRICING: You can find the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Supermicro SSE-X3348TR retails for $13,995.50 at Amazon.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR

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Most Supermicro SSE-X3348T and SSE-3348TR switches will ship from Supermicro through resellers who drop ship. The packaging is a dense cardboard material that stands up to the brutality of shipping very well.

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Inside the package, the switch is sandwiched between two pieces of closed-cell foam. Note the distance from the edges of the switch to the corner of the box and the foam density in those areas. Most box damage occurs at the corners and that is why Supermicro built these areas so strong. The accessories are stored in a separate area in the package and are not just floating in the box.

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Here we get our first wide view of the SSE-X3348TR. There are 50 RJ45 ports on the front. The two on the far right are for management and offer failover for high availability. The main cluster of 48 RJ45 ports are your 10GBaseT ports that support 10 gigabit as well as the older 1 gigabit standard.

Between the management ports and the 10GBaseT ports are your four QSFP ports that run at 40 gigabit each.

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Vents to pass air through the switch are on the top, bottom and sides of the front.

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The status LEDs for the each port are on the top row of RJ45 ports.

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Sadly, the status LEDs for the QSFP are in the middle of the ports. Without a clean line of sight, it can sometimes be difficult to see the status LEDs. In a top of rack installation, you will need to get on a stool to peek between the QSFP connectors.

Initially, the Supermicro SSE-X3348T/R switches could only run 40 gigabit Ethernet, but a firmware update enabled the use of QSFP to 4x SFP+ splitter cables. This is a useful feature since most of us still have SFP+ 10GbE cards in older servers that we haven't migrated over to 10GBaseT yet.

On the far right are the two management ports that allow you to configure failover protection. Just above the two management ports are a series of LEDs. The first two LEDs show the redundant power supply status. A dialog LED lets you know if a message is available and finally the fan LED shows the fan status.

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Supermicro sells a rackmount slide kit for the SSE-X3348T/R switches. The system does not ship with the rails in the accessory package.

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The rear of the system has a console port, USB port, removable fans in a sled and redundant power supply.

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On the far left is the console port. I don't think we'll ever move away from this standard. The manual states the USB port is for internal use and has no end-user functions.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 16 | TweakTown.com

On the far right of the switch, we have the redundant power supply - another high availability feature. The switch can use a 100v to 240v power source and is auto switching.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 17 | TweakTown.com

The removable fan tray comes out for rapid changes and uses four Nidec UltraFlo fans.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 18 | TweakTown.com

The power supplies are manufactured by Compuware and they are model CPR-6011-2M2. Each power supply is rated at 600 watts.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 19 | TweakTown.com

Unlike most switches that look fairly plain, the Supermicro SSE-X3348T/R units are a bit intimidating. The logo on the top cover is also a nice touch.

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With the top cover off, we see the robustness of the heat sinks and internal layout.

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A closer image of the heat sinks that are designed to channel air through the switch.

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The accessory package includes two power cords, a console cable, rack ears and screws for mounting the ears to the switch.

Inside the Configuration Menu

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We found that most, if not all of the configuration, could be managed from the web interface. If you are familiar with Supermicro servers, then you will right at home with the management system.

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Inside, everything is laid out in an easy to find manor. The first screen mimics the side menu, but puts every main tier in one-click reach.

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The side menu expands more options and from there, tabs at the top progress navigation.

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The latest firmware adds QSFP splitting to three of the four 40GbE QSFP ports. QX2 (port 2) stays at 40GbE.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 34 | TweakTown.com

Below you'll find a handful of additional images from the menu system:

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 35 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 36 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 37 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 38 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 39 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 40 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 41 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 42 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 43 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 44 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 45 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 46 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 47 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 48 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 49 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 50 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 51 | TweakTown.com Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 52 | TweakTown.com

Test System Setup and Testing

Test System Setup

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Today we're using Mellanox ConnectX-3, Intel X540 and Broadcom NetXtreme II adapters to test the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Top-or-Rack switch.

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 01 | TweakTown.com

Ideally we would be able to test the full 1284Gbps of switching capacity offered by the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR, but we're a few 10GbE adapters shy.

Benchmarks -Throughput

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In our previous network tests, we used Windows Server with IXIA IxChariot. Sadly, we're not able to achieve consistent performance with high speed interconnects under Windows. 10GbE works fine but 40GbE and InfiniBand (56Gb/s on a Mellanox SX6036) both have produce inconsistent results on Windows and tested with IxChariot. For this test, we used Red Hat Enterprise 6.4 with iPerf.

The results show the 4x increase 40GbE gives system administrators over 10GbE technology.

Final Thoughts

Supermicro SSE-X3348TR Layer 3 10G-BaseT Switch Review 01 | TweakTown.com

I would say the 3COM Corebuilders I own were the most difficult to learn and configure. My Extreme Networks switches were a bit easier since the software is a lot like the 3COM's to work with, but the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR is like a plug and play device.

Within moments from unboxing, the unit was installed in our test rack. A few quick commands later and the SSE-X3348TR had an initial configuration, and from there we could finish the setup through the easy to use web GUI. The firmware released a few weeks after the initial setup allowed us to run 40GbE QSFP to quad 10GbE SFP+ cables. That allowed us to ramp up our legacy hardware, if you can call 10GbE SFP+ legacy.

One of the reasons why the console and web interfaces were so easy to learn can be credited to Supermicro's extensive manuals. Not only do you have basic manuals, but the configuration guides provide step-by-step instructions for formally complex tasks.

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After researching other products on the market with similar features and configuration, we found the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR to fall between half and one third of the cost. Given Supermicro's strong server selection, the SSE-X3348TR would make an excellent addition to the top of your Supermicro rack. The SSE-X3348TR hits all of the marks: performance, cost, and features.

PRICING: You can find the Supermicro SSE-X3348TR for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Supermicro SSE-X3348TR retails for $13,995.50 at Amazon.

TweakTown award
Performance96%
Quality including Design and Build94%
General Features94%
Bundle and Packaging94%
Value for Money90%
Overall94%

The Bottom Line: Supermicro's SSE-X3348TR switch costs significantly less than competing products and offers exceptional performance.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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