[c-nsp] ME3600/3800 query

Jeff Bacon bacon at walleyesoftware.com
Mon Dec 19 11:39:05 EST 2011

Background: I use MPLS internal to my network on 6500s as a way to separate out all of the various vendor traffic that I have to deal with and get it to wherever it is I happen to need it across 10-12 different geographically-diverse sites. I don't really have your standard CE-PE-P-PE-CE relationship, as typically the PE-CE relationship is collapsed onto a single 6500, which then drops to a dist switch and to a host.

(I imagine some folks would call this overkill, and I could do what I wanted by using the WAN links as VLAN trunks and make various parallel meshes with VRF-lite. OK, I could. I think about doing something like that and gag at how ugly that would be to maintain.) 

Anyway. 6500s are kind of pricey to drop everywhere, and they don't come in convenient form factors (tried to find an ME6524 on the refurb market lately? Oh wait, you wanted 10G? Priced a 6503-E chassis lately?). 

I could use ASRs, but I need switching-level performance - I have high microburst rates, don't want to wait 100-150micros for the quantumflow to process the packet, and can live with lower-touch on the packets. Plus an ASR with enough ports to matter... ugh. 

So I'm looking at the ME3600/3800X. They would seem to do what I want - MPLS and L3 routing, MP-BGP. Wish they had multicast MPLS VPN but that looks like a no-go. That could be a problem, but I guess I can use VRF-lite + VLAN trunks to carry that. (We have an internal multicast-based data distribution system that pushes multicast, well, everywhere. Or we want it to.)

What's the difference between a 3600 and a 3800, anyway?  They look a heck of a lot like the same box with a different label???

Any major gotchas with this platform? 


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