[CentOS] [OT] Network switches

Tue Mar 24 16:15:18 UTC 2009
Rob Townley <rob.townley at gmail.com>

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 10:59 AM, nate <centos at linuxpowered.net> wrote:
> Rainer Duffner wrote:
>> Switch performance is extremely difficult to measure IMO. You need
>> enough clients to make sure you're not accidentally measuring
>> client-performance.
> There's also a lot more to switches than pure performance, line
> rate switches have been around for at least a decade(switches
> that have enough bandwidth to have every port running at 100%
> utilization).
> If your running only a layer 2 network(who does that anymore?)
> then perhaps performance is the best measure, but for the
> well known top performing manufacturers of gear raw performance
> hasn't been something to be concerned about for some time in
> the 10/100 and GigE space.

i would not be surprised if most SOHO networks may not even have layer
2 manageablity.
How do you know it isn't something to be concerned about unless you
have data from various manufacturers and various NICs?

> Now 10GigE is still kind of new as far as high density line
> rate, most chassis switches are not even line rate if you
> fully populate them with 10Gig ports.
> IMO -
> (no particular order)
> HP - Good for the lifetime warranty, lower support(contract)
>     costs. Advantages for an HP shop since they likely tie in
>     nicely to HP management tools.
> Extreme - Mature next-gen linux-based OS that's easy to use,
>          lots of advanced functionality included out of the
>          box. With a couple exceptions, line rate for 10+ years.
> Force10 - Leader in port density and switch performance, though
>          it's been a couple years since I've seen a new
>          product, most of their products are 4+ years old but
>          still compete extremely well even today. NetBSD next-gen
>          OS, still kind of new. Line rate since their inception
>          almost a decade ago. Looks like they just released a new
>          10gig chassis yesterday. Was the undisputed 10gig leader
>          for a while, others have since caught up, though this
>          new product may put them way ahead again haven't looked
>          in depth.
> Foundry(now Brocade) - Another leader in port density and
>          switch performance, best known perhaps for it's interface
>          clone of IOS. So if your used to Cisco you can adapt to
>          these pretty easily and get much better performance. Not
>          sure where they are at on their next gen OS. Line rate
>          for a long time, perhaps 10+ years too. Unlike Extreme
>          and Force10 Foundry offers products targeted specifically
>          to do high performance routing(NetIron), as well as
>          load balancing(ServerIron). Most of their edge switches
>          are 1.5U instead of 1U, though they include hot swap
>          internal power supplies. Most vendors rely on external
>          power supplies for redundancy. Foundry used to have some
>          non Ethernet offerings(e.g. T1, DS3 etc), but have since
>          like many others eliminated all non Ethernet products.
> Cisco - overpriced, under performing almost across the board, I'm
>        looking at replacing some older Cisco 7300 routers(which
>        they still sell), with something from Foundry, their LOW
>        end router is more than seven hundred times faster than
>        the Cisco 7300, and the price is comparable. Cisco has
>        a broad range of operating systems. Management is
>        incredibly complex. Can be a "one stop shop" for most things
>        network related, but while they share a common brand don't
>        let them fool you into making you think they are well
>        integrated and easy to use.
> Juniper - Somewhat new to the basic switch space though their
>        48-port 1Gig 1U switches are feature packed with gobs of
>        flash, RAM, hot swap fan trays and power supplies
>        (rare for a 1U switch), and a very fast stacking port(over
>        100Gbps if I recall). Juniper is of course best known for
>        it's routers, and more recently firewalls after it bought
>        NetScreen(?) a few years ago. I think their new switches
>        use the same BSD(FreeBSD perhaps?) based OS that their
>        high end routers do, if so it's very mature on the
>        software side.
> 3COM - Not familiar to much with their recent products though
>       personally weary of the company itself, it's working hard
>       to get back into the enterprise space after abandoning it
>       a decade or more ago.
> Linksys/NetGear/D-link/etc - if this is your price point then
>        that's your price point, I'd suggest at least getting
>        a good set of layer 3 switches for the network core.

If you don't have metrics justifying thousands more for the same
number of ports, then it is hard to justify to the boss.

> I personally have kept very close eyes on Extreme, Force10 and
> Foundry's product lines for 5 years or so, and more recently
> looking at Juniper as well. The sort of technology behind these
> products is very interesting to me, I'm the sort of person who
> will spend hours reading data and spec sheets on them.
> I only have personal experience with Extreme, Cisco, and Linksys
> (1 switch).
> nate
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