[c-nsp] Some advice on switches....

Geoffrey Pendery geoff at pendery.net
Thu May 14 08:49:32 EDT 2009

Well these sorts of details are definitely something to confirm with
someone from Cisco, before dropping the cash on it.
I'm personally happy to contribute advice, but you wouldn't want to be
explaining to your boss that your $100,000 switches aren't working
even though "some guy on the mailing list said it would"

There's a Configurator tool on the cisco.com website, which allows you
to put together a box and check the compatibility of the modules
involved, but access may be restricted to sufficiently large accounts.
 Ditto for talking to a dedicated Cisco sales rep - if your business
is enough of a Cisco buyer (or you're buying through a VAR, and
they're sufficiently large) then there should be someone from Cisco to
field these types of questions.  Failing all that, if you're a small
customer, surely there's "chat with a Cisco rep" or "email this
address with questions".

Anyway, with the disclaimers out of the way...
All of the "stackables" (fixed 1 or 2U, non-modular switches like the
2960, 3750, etc) do not do Netflow.  The 4500 just barely does
Netflow, meaning that only the Sup V supports it, and you either need
to purchase that daughter-card, or purchase a Sup V-10GE.  If Netflow
is a must-have, then you either:

1.  Go with the Sup V.  This will limit your throughput a bit, as it's
not the "E series" like the 6, but it sounds like your bandwidth
requirements are modest (I'm not sure why others are lamenting the 6
Gbps or 32 Gbps backplane limitations of the 4500 classic or Sup32,
when your design calls for 48 10/100 port switches uplinked via one or
two gig ports, but they are correct.)

2.  Go with the 2960's, but put a router at the top instead of the
3560.  Something in the ISR line, like 2800 or 3800, would also give
you some options for voice/video services.

3.  Move up to the 6500.  It'll bump your price up a bit, but it'll do
Netflow (and probably everything else you want to do).  A Sup32 will
probably meet your bandwidth needs, a Sup 32 PISA will throw in stuff
like NBAR.  You'll have the option of adding any services blades
(firewall, VPN, wireless, etc) if the need arises.  Do be aware
however, that if you find yourself needing more power, like you want
to up the access ports to gig, you'll need to buy new Supervisors
along with the new line cards.

What you ultimately choose depends on the many details of your
environment which you're in a better place to understand than we are.
If you think this network is going to grow and expand over the next
few years, requiring more bandwidth and more elaborate routing or
services, then the 6500 is probably the most flexible and powerful of
the three options.   If you think the access ports will never need to
go gig, and you don't need Netflow, but you want to ensure no
over-subscription, then probably go with the 4500 and the 6E - the 48
ports in your stackables can theoretically add up to 4.8 Gbps, and
you're not gonna push that through the 2960 and his gig uplinks.  If
the over-subscription isn't a big concern, but you really want Netflow
and maybe some voice services, consider the stackables + ISR.  You'll
be piping your traffic through a handful of gig ports, but you'll get
access to the "routery" features like Netflow and NBAR, as well as
lots of options for modules.

There's lots of tradeoffs involved, and ultimately it's up to you to
figure out which things you really want and which things you give up.
We can just help a bit with the options.


On Wed, May 13, 2009 at 5:01 PM, Chris Knipe <savage at savage.za.org> wrote:
> Hi,
>> > You might want to look at 4500 Series switches, rather than 6500.
>> > If 2960's were sufficient for your requirements (no advanced routing,
>> > Netflow, NBAR, etc) then 4500 is closer to an apples-to-apples
>> > comparison than 6500.
>> > 4500 will generally be cheaper than 6500, especially when taking
>> > maintenance/Smartnet into account (though YMMV).
>> For a classic non-E chassis and/or traditional supervisor blade (Sup-IV
>> or less), you're dealing with a 6Gbps/slot backplane limitation.  You
>> may be OK with your 10/100 blades, but some of the classic 10/100/1000
>> ones such as the WS-X4448 you are as much as 8:1 oversubscribed onto
>> that 6Gbps/slot.  The 2960 backplane is smoking hot in comparison (but
>> you're still limited in uplink b/w).
>> The E-series chassis with a hot supervisor will get you 24Gbps/slot.
> Thank you all for the input.  I would definitely agree 4500 too rather than
> 6500.  The main purpose of this deployment is for Triple Play services,
> IPTV, Telephony, as well as Data.  IGMP Multicast is critical for the IPTV
> and almost all 10/100 Ethernet ports will be running at least 3 VLANs.  A
> single switch will also make that much easier in my opinion...
> I've spend a bit of time on Cisco.com now, and I just want everyone to give
> this a once over and ensure that there isn't anything I missed before I send
> this off to suppliers for costing - if I can ask that someone also just
> check for compatibility, I would appreciate it.  I am not sure at this stage
> about the NetFlow Services Card, whether or not it would be compatible with
> the Supervisor.  I've worked allot with the smaller fixed configuration
> Ciscos, but this is going to be all new to me in terms of size...
> Cisco Catalyst 4510R-E Chassis:
> 1 x WS-C4510R-E
>  Cisco Catalyst E Series 4510R Switch (10-slot chassis), fan, no power
> supply; redundant supervisor capable
> 2 x PWR-C45-1400AC
>  Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series 1400W AC power supply (data only)
> 1 x S45EIPB-12240SG(=)
>  Cisco IOS Software for Supervisor Engine 6-E (IP Base image)
> 1 x WS-X45-Sup6-E
>  Cisco Catalyst 4500 E Series Supervisor Engine 6-E, 2x10GE (X2) or 4x1GE
> (SFP), Console RJ-45,USB
> 1 x WS-X45-Sup6-E/2
>  Cisco Catalyst 4500 Redundant Supervisor Engine 6-E, 2x10GE (X2) or 4x1GE
> (SFP), Console RJ-45,USB
> 1 x MEM-C4K-FLD128M
>  Cisco Catalyst 4500 Cisco IOS Software-Based Supervisor Engine, Compact
> Flash memory, 128-MB option
> 1 x WS-F4531(=)
>  Cisco Catalyst 4500 NetFlow Services Card
> Cisco Catalyst 4510R-E Line Cards:
> 5 x WS-X4148-RJ(=)
>  Cisco Catalyst 4500 10/100 Module, 48 ports (RJ-45)
> 1 x WS-X4424-GB-RJ45(=)
>  Cisco Catalyst 4500 24-port 10/100/1000 Module (RJ-45)
> Thank you all for your time and feedback,
> Regards,
> Chris.
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