Cisco vs Juniper

Posted on 2009-05-08
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We're trying to decide whether to replace our core network with stackable Juniper 4200 switches or Cisco 3750 switches.  There's a lot to like about the Juniper OS as well as their GUI switch management software.  Plus it seems that these devices are high quality and a good fit for us.  On the other hand, Cisco is the big boy with a long track record and very high quality devices.

I'd like to hear from experts who have considered both of these companies, no matter which you selected, and I'd like to know why you chose one over the other.  Looking for real world experience and not just links to Cisco or Juniper propaganda.
Question by:jhyiesla
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LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 24346568
On paper, the Juniper does look impressive. Unfortunately, it has not been around long enough to have any track record to speak of.
On the other hand, Cisco's 3750's have been around for many years with a proven track record and world-class support. If you've ever had to call Cisco TAC, you'll find they will bend over backwards to help you out. The have a global "follow the sun" support system. If you call in at 2:00 in the morning, you won't get some sleepy support person working the graveyard shift. You will get someone who's local time is the middle of the day and they are wide awake and ready to assist.
I'll also tell you that if you compare a stack of 3 or more 3750's for a closet, then you may be much better off for many reasons with a Cisco 4500 series chassis solution. Juniper does not have a comparable chassis based product.
Also, JunOS is built on FreeBSD and Cisco IOS is purpose-built for no other purpose than to run on the switch. Cisco is very consistent with IOS across platforms between switches and routers.
Cisco Network Assistant (free download) makes managing many switches very easy.
LVL 28

Author Comment

ID: 24346682
lrmoore... actually we think that the CNA is a weak point with the Cisco equipment.  It does an OK job, but we were way more impressed with the GUI management software on the Juniper boxes. I do agree that Cisco has the track record in the enterprise market that Juniper doesn't have.  We had looked at the 65xx chassis line from Cisco and decided that if we go with Cisco, the 3750's probably are just as good a fit for us as the 65xx chassis. Interesting info on the JUNOS and IOS differences.
LVL 28

Author Comment

ID: 24366157
lrmoore... what would be a reason(s) that getting a chassis-based system would be better than stacking 3750's?  We are actually looking at stacking 5-6 of them or 5-6 of the Juniper 4200's.
LVL 79

Accepted Solution

lrmoore earned 500 total points
ID: 24370395
Power reqirements - no redundant power in stacks of single switches. Chassis provides redundant power to all blades. Hot swap power supplies.
Backplane speed. 32/64G on 3750, 280G on 4500 chassis with Sup6L-E
Price - new 4500 bundles are actually cheaper up front than a stack of 3 3750's
Flexibility - add 10G uplink capability to 3750 and drives price way up. New 4500 bundles include 2x10G interfaces
Support - Smartnet Maint on 6 individual switches is more than a single contract on a chassis.

Pricing examples (list prices)
3750G-48PS-S  3750 48 10/100/1000T +4 SFP + PoE = 13,995
Stack of 5 will cost $69,975 plus SmartNet $919.00 x 5 = 4595.00 per year maintenance
240 ports, all 10/100/1000+ PoE, 5 year cost = $92,950.00

Cat4506-E PoE GE Bundle, 1 x S2+10GE, 2 x WS-X4548-GB-RJ45V
Redundant 1300W power supplies
Comes with 2 x 48-port 10/100/1000 PoE ports
Add 3 more blades for total of 5x 48-port 10/100/1000 PoE
Total bundle, including 8x5xNBD SmartNet maintenance contract = $54,515 ($1040 per year maintenance)
240 ports, all 10/100/1000+ PoE, 5 year cost = $58,675.00 (Plus you get 10Gig !)

Not to mention the long term savings in power costs.
4506 switch = 1300Watt (redundant power supplies only one hot at a time unless you need lots of PoE)
3750 Stack = 590W x 5 = 2950 watts all the time
Not to mention the noise levels - a stack is noisier
Not to mention the heat generated by the stack vs the 4506 creating higher cooling costs

From a Cisco salesmans's perspective - I'd push real hard for you to buy the 3750 stackables.
From an honest consultant perspective - you're much better off with a chassis solution


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