Recommendations for core switch infrastructure?

it_medcomp
it_medcomp used Ask the Experts™
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I am a network admin and looking at our switching infrastructure. I feel like it is not efficiently built, and it is aging. It consists of HP Procurve switches, some of them are V1910's, newer ones are 2530's. (Several were purchased to support a VoIP phone system). All switches are connected with trunks- this takes up 4 ports per trunk and only communicates at linespeed. What I think needs to happen is I need to build a new core switch infrastructure, remove the aging equipment, relegate the newer switches to edge roles for client connections, and select adequate infrastructure for the core equipment... whatever I get, I am planning to use cascades so we don't end up using half the ports to trunk and get better performance. Our network is not complex- we have an MPLS, an inter-building fiber link, 2 VoIP VLANs, and 3 subnets at this location. so we wouldn't need more than 8 VLAN's- right now everything except the fiber and the phones are on the same VLAN and separated by routers- I think that using the VLAN capabilities of the new infrastructure could replace routing equipment and optimize the network further. So my question is, assuming we are keeping the newer HP Procurves (The newest are actually Aruba's), which have GBIC's but no cascade ports, should we use Cisco's for the core switches, or stay brand-consistent with HPe/Aruba, which will become the edge switches? Any model or feature recommendations?
Thanks for the help!
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SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Budget will be your guide with this decision. Most Vendors now are making decent equipment now. From the speed perspective it sounds like you want 10g cores. What do you mean by cascade ports?

Author

Commented:
That might be an old Nortel/Bay Networks term I've carried forward... By cascade ports, I am referring to direct backplane connections. In legacy models, we would stack switches by cascading the connection down the stack switch by switch and then the bottom switch would cascade back to the top switch. It created on large switch with an 80GB connection rather than a series of ports trunked with slower speeds.
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Ah okay so stack ports.  Yeah, I understand what you mean now.
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SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Being that you currently have the HP's, I'd probably stick with Aruba/HP. Then design the new topology around Multi Chassis Link Aggregation. for your access switches.
I would definitely be looking at 10Gb for a core switch. A single "desktop" drive can saturate a 1Gb link. Modern servers with a RAID array and workstations with SSDs can easily manage 2-3Gb sustained, when copying large files. If you use any disk-disk backup, it will run well under half speed over Gigabit networking.

Sounds like you have some LAG (link aggregation groups) in place. This is helpful, however 4 x 1Gb links is NOT the same as a single 4Gb link, it only manages 4Gb if there are a lot of flows happening at once, and you get lucky.

Look like the switches you have in use now, unfortunately don't have SFP+  slots, hence cannot take 10Gb transceivers, however you should be able to get 10Gb NICs for your servers, and get the move happening.

Author

Commented:
Thanks everyone- Each of you helped answer- N. Spears recommending to stick with the HP brand, helpful because of the Cisco aspect of the question, and Mal Osborne for recommending the 10GB ports and suggesting the SFP+ adaptors (even though they don't work with my switches).
SouljaSr.Net.Eng
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
@it_medcomp

My first comment did in fact suggest 10g Cores. No harm no foul though. Take care. :)

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