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Looking at setting up VLANs for a quickly-growing office (6 servers, 60 workstations, probably adding another 10 within the next month or so). I need to do inter-VLAN routing and ACLs (layer 3, packet filtering if possible); QoS would be beneficial, but not necessary.

Here's my (likely) impossible wish list:

  1. GbE x 24 -- if I'm buying a new core switch, I want Gigabit.
  2. Layer 3 routing (RIPv1/2) or "static routing" with a decent sized routing table limit (think the ProCurve 2610 was 8, which is too small)
  3. Layer 3/4 ACLs (packet filtering): I don't want to do router-on-a-stick to achieve any sort of decent firewalling between the VLANS.
  4. (the kicker) under $1500

Nice to have: 1. QoS

Any recommendations? It seems like I need something between a 2600 series and a 2900 series, possibly from another manufacturer, but I'm really drawn to HP ProCurve's good reputation and lifetime warranty. Will consider other vendors though.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No way you can get something that would satisfy all these requirements. Especially #4: a smart GigE switch will run in the neighborhood of $100/port. Of course, you always have the linksyses and netgears of this world, but I wouldn't trust them to run anything more complex than VLANs, some basic trunking and routing with no ACLs.

Among the more reputable vendors, ProCurve is the most budget friendly, and you seem to know enough about them to figure out what would fit (or rather that nothing would fit) on your own.

And one more thing: router on a stick is not such a bad idea, especially if you have robust virtual environment. Just last week I deployed a pair of pfSense virtual appliances, and I couldn't imagine an easier way to get a capable router in my environment at almost zero (CPU and memory consumption of that appliance are negligible) cost. With that requirement gone, you could get much simpler and cheaper switches.

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I have deployed a few embedded installs of pfSense on ALIX hardware for edge firewall/routers, but with your virtual environment, are you doing any interVLAN routing between physical hardware? With 60 odd workstations chatting across VLANs to the servers (and with the VM overhead), I can see that becoming the bottleneck (which essentially the router-on-a-stick model is). –  gravyface Mar 4 '10 at 14:17
    
I don't have my own numbers to show for it (the routers are not in a high traffic environment), but I would venture a guess that with six servers you should be fine with a pair of teamed pNICs dedicated to the router VMs. The only two scenarios where it won't be enough are high bandwidth data stream generation (multimedia), or very fast storage that the clients consume at max speeds. Regular small office stuff (low-end file servers, AD, mail) never needs full GigE bandwidth. Just capture your current traffic utilization, and you'll be able to say if my suggestion is crap. –  Max Alginin Mar 4 '10 at 17:38
    
I think I'm going to use Herculean strength to get the client to commit to the 2910AL over a 3-year lease if necessary (with a low buy-out after), as with the lifetime warranty, it'll service them for years. I will play around with pfSense on a teamed NIC/VMWare setup though. –  gravyface Mar 4 '10 at 21:36

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