I realize this is a very general question, but I wasn't able to find anything really useful - here or elsewhere.

I'm currently looking for switches that could be used to run a network with a few thousand hosts. At the moment, we are using Cisco 3550/3560 for access and C3750/C4500 for edge/core.

Since it's time to go from FastEthernet access and a gigabit core to GigabitEthernet access and a 10Gbit core we'll need some new devices.

However, there are so many network switch vendors and operating systems:

  • Cisco / IOS
  • hp (*)
  • Juniper / JUNOS
  • Force10 / FTOS
  • Extreme Networks / ExtremeXOS

How is one to choose between them? Or are the differences so minimal that one should just go with what is already there (which would in our case be Cisco)?

(*) Actually, I couldn't find the name of the operating system running on hp switches. If someone knows please edit.

  • This is not an answer to your question, but $work uses Arista switches and we like them pretty well.
    – Handyman5
    Sep 13 '11 at 21:51

I follow this guide:

  1. Cisco - Industry standard, sometimes proprietary, price premium, support costs are high.
  2. Juniper - Open Standards, as powerful if not more so then Cisco, but sometimes buggy, support costs are reasonable.
  3. HP - Good budget choice, lots of compatibility and certainly less expensive than the others.

Past that, I'd say Force 10, then a tossup between the rest.

Some of the products are hard to choose between with Juniper, for instance their big chassis switches (EX8208/16) do not have PoE blades yet, but they're coming. There is also a smaller EX6200 around the corner, as well as a stackable L2 switch called the EX3300. I prefer JunOS to IOS myself.

  • 4
    +1 on HP, but be careful in their marketting spin. They have labelled their 3Com and Huawei switches as ProCurves as well. Almost as bad as Cisco relabelling Linksys products...
    – tegbains
    Sep 13 '11 at 18:45

HP ProCurve come with a lifetime-warranty, don't they?

We use various 24-port and 48-port models, all GBit and with optical GBICs. Configuration via ssh/telnet and Web-Interface okay, but not the optimum.

I think it's a good choice for a medium budget.

Regarding Core-switches I can't judge the HP-switches.


Huawei is also worth considering. They've strong foothold in telecom sector and their switches come in very reasonable prices (CZ). Configuration is similar to Cisco, of course some things are different (eg 802.1x) but documentation is solid and their enterprise division support was helpful.

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