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What Layer 3 Switch is Recommended?

Posted on 2014-10-09
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
We are currently researching the Dell N3048 and the Meraki MS320-48. They are both comparable Layer 3 switches but have different software features.

Has anyone worked with either of these before? Does anyone know which one is recommended for a small data center (2 or 3 layer 3 core switches and 7 tertiary switches)?

The Meraki is quoted at $4,800 with a NBD 5 yr. support plan. The Dell is $3,600 with a NBD support plan. Is the Meraki worth the extra $1,200?

Thanks for the help EE community!
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Question by:Paul Wagner
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by:SuperTaco
SuperTaco earned 300 total points
ID: 40372798
I have used DELLin my datacetners, and I prefer them, if it's just your network in teh datacetner.  if You are hosting, I recommend going Cisco.  you pay a higher premiuum, but it is well worth it for the stability. I woudl go with at least a 3750.  I would go higher though, as most 3750's don't suport netflow for traffic analysis.
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madunix earned 700 total points
ID: 40373045
If you want layer 2 security , ask for DHCP snooping  , SSH , SNMP control , AAA support , IP Source Routing, If you want to support Multicast , ask for Multicast Routing and IGMP v2 support , check version maybe 3 is released.
Ask for detailed SNMP logging and trap management at the interface lever with Interface indexing and RMON support , If you will run L3 routing protocols then make sure it is at the ASIC level , there are many routing processes are SW based and the core must support VRF like MPLS to route once and switch many/other flow .
Check for access list process if HW or SW based , mostly standard ACL are ASIC based and Extended are SW processed, Check for QoS at the control plane level not only for traffic and ports. Maybe you need virtualization support. Maybe you need fiber channel ports support to connect SAN , iSCSI support  etc
Check for flow monitoring , SLA track support , to track something and trigger something
Check for SW/HW load balancing support
Maybe you need service modules support , like FW,IPS,NAM, Content switching and load balancing , Wireless Controllers etc ..
It is good to look at the Port Queues setup and support
Make sure you list the following when you compare L3 switch:
Switching Capacity       Gbps      
IPv4 Throughput      Mpps      
IPv6 Throughput       Mpps      
Bandwidth/Slot       Gbps      
Scalability      
Number of Routes      
Number of Packet Buffers
NetFlow Entries
MAC Learning Rate per Second
Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) Snoop Entries
Number of 10/100/1000 Ports
MAC Address      
Multicast Routes      
Input/Output Policers      
Spanning Tree Instances      
Active VLANs
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by:Paul Wagner
ID: 40373388
@Super Taco
Do you think the Dell's will work fine if I need to move a SAN off site to a colo for D.R. backups? I will have two Sonicwalls in front of my Layer 3 solution.

@madunix
Will I need all of that for a small data center? Keep in mind that I'm a generalist and probably won't have time to delve into every nook and cranny for every device I have. I just need something that works and gives me as little problems as possible.
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