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I am looking at replacing some unmanaged 16 port store bought GB switches and wanted to go with Cisco but it may be cost prohibitive.

Instead I am looking at ProCurve or Dell's PowerConnect line up.

I am looking for SNMP, Management, VLANs, and SFLOW would icing on the switch cupcake.

I would get the 6224 or the 6248 and then maybe add the RPS-600 to it for redundant power.

I think the RPS-600 supports multiple switches.

Rackspace is also a little challenge so I am trying to do it with as little Rack Units as possible.

Ideally I would go with two 6224's or a single 6248 and then do two VLANs.

Thanks for any feedback.

Rob

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I added that I need SNMP, Management, VLANs and possibly SFLOW. –  Rob Bergin Jun 18 '09 at 17:09

8 Answers 8

up vote 8 down vote accepted

PowerConnect switches are OEM'd by Delta Networks, from Taiwan.

I'm using 6248's and 6224's with two Customers (one using powered and one usign non-powered versions). They're much cheaper than a feature-similiar Cisco switch, and they've worked well. The first Customer got theirs in late 2007, and the second in fall of 2008.

We're only using layer-3 functionality on the 62xx's at one Customer site, but it has been working well. They do not have very fancy layer-3 entities, but then you should probably be usign a router if you need really fancy. I am using layer-2 VLANs at both sites, and they work fine.

We have the RPS-600 on both installations and I've verified that the RPS works as advertised. (In fact, the cabling company pulled the UPS feeding the AC on the switches, but not the RPS, and no one at the Customer site noticed they'd been running on RPS for several days.)

I recently upgraded the firmware on the older installation and one of the switches continually reported a problem with its flash filesystem. I called Dell support and they sent out a replacement switch with very few questiosn asked.

We opted, since the switches were so inexpensive (as compared to the warranty support), to purchase a "cold standby" switch at each site in lieu of fancy on-site warranty. The entire switch stack, in the case of the 2007 Customer, w/ three 6248's and an RPS-600, cost less than a single one of the 48-port Cisco switch a vendor quoted (a 3560, I think... I don't recall now. It was expensive.).

The configuration command-line interface is Cisco-esque and close enough that I almost forget that I'm using a non-Cisco switch. (The "configure" command not taking the "terminal" argument irritates me-- I'm all the time typing "conf term".) The web interface is reasonable, though I prefer the CLI.

We are using MRTG at both sites to collect statistics from these switches. They work as expected w/ respect to SNMP.

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Evan - do the switches run on AC power and the RPS at the same time? I thought the RPS replaced the AC power with RPS power? –  Rob Bergin Jun 18 '09 at 17:25
    
The switches will handle running off the RPS, their internal AC supplies, or both. I'm sure they're only really using one or the other at a time, but both can be plugged-in. –  Evan Anderson Jun 18 '09 at 18:35

I've had good luck so far with the 3com 2948's (http://www.3com.com/products/en_US/detail.jsp?pathtype=purchase&tab=features&sku=3CBLSG48). Very nice options, solid interface, and seem stable. I've got a pair of them, and I haven't regretted it.

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Don't have too much experience with the Dells but I can vouch for the ProCurve switches. We use the 2910 series and they have been great. Lots of features, a good serial/terminal interface as well as a nice HTTP front-end. Also very nice is that they have a lifetime warranty with next-day replacement included at no extra cost.

Among the other admins I know they have a solid reputation for being the Cisco alternative if you don't want to pay the Cisco premium. Based on my experiences so far, I'd agree with that sentiment.

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Yeah I like the 2910 alot - basically think its like the 5200 or the 6200 depending on the backplane speeds and overall throughput. –  Rob Bergin Jun 18 '09 at 17:09
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Second HP ProCurve switches. We have these deployed for core and distribution in the racks for our web clusters and they work very well. –  Justin Scott Jun 18 '09 at 19:49

Last I checked the Dell's were rebranded SMC's I think.

The web interface was limited and advanced configuration needed to be done though the command line.

That said, Dell support was really good in helping me setup what I needed to do with them since I wasn't familiar with the OS in them at all.

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Yeah I am not sure if the 5200's are the Tiger/SMCs or if the 6200s are something different. –  Rob Bergin Jun 18 '09 at 17:11

IMHO stay away from the Powerconnects. I work for a consultancy providing network services. Dell's adherence to standards is flaky at best, and their support services are shocking. When trying to troubleshoot a port with fixed speed/duplex, we were advised that fixing speed and duplex for ports was unsupported! C

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I am in the process of removing all of my DELL switches (10 of them), 6248p's with 10G fiber uplinks, recently one unit went crazy and broadcast an error (via STP) which shut down all the interconnects between the switches! The logs were USELESS for troubleshooting. I have already RMA'd every switch once because of a firmware update that left them unmanageable.

Go with HP or Cisco and stay FAR AWAY from these crappy Dell's.

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Follow Tim C's advice. The newest Dell firmware added sflow support, but if you run the switches in a stack, the config is lost on reboot (yes, confirmed bug with Dell). I've also located about 15 different sets of class A IP addresses that cannot be routed properly, as if you had an ACL in place blocking them even when there's no such ACL! Dell refused to even test this, and wanted me to run all kinds of ridiculous troubleshooting such as breaking stack, etc.

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We used Dell PowerConnect switches for at least 6 years, without any problems. We used them in a corporate environment and in 5 branch offices (about 18 of these switches in total). They are relatively cheap, easy, and they always worked very well for us. Granted, Dell techsupport isn't all that, but as someone else commented - we too simply bought 2 additional ones to keep in stock to replace any defective unit. Still saved ourselves thousands of dollars when compared to what we would have spent if we would have bought Cisco's.

We (regrettably) recently started to replace them by Cisco's due to company standards forced upon us, but to me these are not really worth the (sometimes up to 3 times) higher price, since the end result is that we will still be at the same level of satisfaction.

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