Any thoughts on Enterasys vs Cisco?

Posted on 2010-11-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We're looking at upgrading our 10+ switch infrastructure.  We're a small shop (100 users), but our desktops are all virtualized (they have no hard drive, and stream everything via network).  Our infrastructure is 1/2 Cat5 and 1/2 Cat5e.  We have 5 subnets.

Currently, I'm looking at the newer Cisco 2960S for stacking and basic routing (they allow 16 static routes now).  When reading reviews of that, I stumbled on the Enterasys A, B, and C series.  Does anyone have experience with this company?  It appears Cisco runs about $500/switch (48 port with stacking module an 10Gb uplink, whereas Enterasys includes all this on the switch) more, and I've had great experience with TAC.  However, we're looking at acquiring 4-8 of these, so $2000-$4000 is not to be taken lightly.

Our needs are gigabit, stacking (cross stack link aggregates for switch/server redundancy) and basic routing.

Any thoughts/feelings on the subject?
Question by:sbumpas
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LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:Don Johnston
ID: 34218603
>Currently, I'm looking at the newer Cisco 2960S for stacking and basic routing (they allow 16 static routes now).

All the 2900 series switches are layer 2. No routing.

For economy-minded customers, I've found the HP Procurve multilayer switches are very nice.

LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 34219003
I don't know where you get the $500 each price for the Cisco 2960S series switch. I sell them all day long and the stacking module alone is list $1500, and list for a 48-port, non-PoE "lite" switch is $3595 + the stack module + the 10G uplink module.
You're looking at $5000 *each* switch. Add another zero to your budget.

Plus, your cabling infrastructure needs to be upgraded. These switches are all 1G ports and your Cat5 cable is simply not rated for 1G and may give you problems. The Cat5e part should be OK, but I would have it certified.

Plus, the 2960S switch is, as donjohnston stated above, a Layer 2 switch only with zero routing capability. I don't know where you got the idea that it handles 16 routes... It only supports a single default and that is for managing the switch itself only.

You would have to go with 3750 series switches to get Gigabit, routing, and stacking. These will run you 2-3 X the cost of the 2960. Base list price for C3750G-48TS-S is $13,995 each.

What other features do you need? Do you need Power over Ethernet? Add another 0 to the budget.

Otherwise, you probably have to look at other alternative solutions.

Author Comment

ID: 34220198
Sorry if I typed wrong; I was trying to say the Cisco 2960S solution is $500 *more* than the equivalent Enterasys product, not that it was simply $500.

We do not need PoE currently, but it would be great if I could add it on later.

Finally, regarding the routing:

"Routing: Basic Layer 3 static routing with 16 routes"

That is a new feature on the S-series, I believe.  Unfortunately, there is a bug that breaks routing when in a stack config, but Cisco claims the fix is already complete and ready for release.

Does Procurve offer stacking and reasonable performance?  Anything is better than these Dell's, but I want to end this nightmare and get the job done right.
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LVL 79

Accepted Solution

lrmoore earned 250 total points
ID: 34222253
I'll be doggone... even old dogs like me can learn something new every day.. I'm going to have to figure out why the marketing goobs and dev groups at Cisco aren't talking.

I've got a 2960S-48LPS-L switch and It has no routing ability. Even the product description is "LAN Base Layer 2". There are no ip routing commands available on the switch. Closest thing I can find is ability to create VRF instances.. I can create L3 interfaces and apparently now route between them, but I cannot add a static route.. previous behavior of L2 switch is to only allow one L3 vlan interface to be "up" at any time and this was only the management vlan IP.

PoE is not something you can bolt on later unless you use inline power adapters, so I would certainly consider doing it now. This is a 5-year investment, not just a "today" project that I can only spend $x for.  Everything is going PoE. IP cameras, Wireless AP's, Phones, heck even 8-port switches can be PoE powered. I'm waiting for PoE powered Laptops!

>Anything is better than these Dell's
LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 34222268
Oh, I have to upgrade to 12.(55)SE vrsion of the IOS to get the routing... sweet!

Author Comment

ID: 34222563
Based on Don's recommendation, I've been researching Procurve quite a bit.  I've had bad experience with HP support in the past (printers and thin clients); anybody have thoughts on their networking department?
LVL 50

Assisted Solution

by:Don Johnston
Don Johnston earned 250 total points
ID: 34222589
I've had bad experiences with just about every vendor that I've ever called for support. :-)

That said, I've installed about a dozen Procurve switches (2600 and 5400) in the past year. I've only had one issue that required calling HP. The response was fast and very professional.

For the most part, I work with Cisco. But I wouldn't hesitate to recommend an HP switch at this point.

Author Comment

ID: 34222946
Do you have any insight into the Procurve warranty/support options?  It's very confusing that they offer "lifetime warranty" but still have support packages they sell?
LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:Don Johnston
ID: 34223163
My understanding is that the lifetime warranty covers defects and allow access to software updates. The support packages are for "how to" type of calls.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34223225
Thanks to both of you for the input; I hadn't even considered HP but it looks like they may be a good fit for our environment.

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