Replacing the fan array in my HP ProCurve 4000M switch

Posted on
Tags: hp, networking, switch, hardware, 4000m, engineering, photos

replacing the fans in a 4000m switch

The main network switch in my home office is an HP ProCurve 4000m, which has been running non-stop for over half a decade. It is a great switch, and even though it is getting old, it is still dependable.

A while ago I noticed that the 4000m’s fault indicator was lit. So I logged into the switch and checked the log: fan 1 was dead. The switch has built-in redundancy (three fans), and so I didn’t worry about it, but I did call HP ProCurve tech support.

The woman I spoke with was friendly and helpful. I told her what was wrong, and she said a new fan array would be on my doorstep within 48 hours. No charge. (I guess the ProCurve warranty really is worth something.)

Today, I installed the array. This meant opening up the switch, which is a fun thing to do. If you are curious about what is inside of a 4000m, I took photos of the operation.

During the process, I recalled why I love old-style HP engineering:

Everything about the process made me think, wow, this is really well engineered.

The thing is, I know, as I sit here and watch the blinking LEDs on my now-restored 4000m, that my next network switch will probably be a Dell.

As much as I love the ProCurve engineering, the Dell price is compelling. Even if I expect the Dells to fail twice as often (and the Dell warranties are comparatively lame), I can buy twice as many Dells and keep spares on the shelf – and still save money compared to the equivalent ProCurve equipment.

I find the situation somewhat sad. I am an engineering guy to the core. So when I go for the cheaper product because it is so darn cheap, I know that much of the market will do likewise. That bodes ill for HP. Like HP’s calculators, the ProCurves too may pass into history.