[c-nsp] ME3600/3800 query

Mark Tinka mtinka at globaltransit.net
Tue Dec 20 00:35:18 EST 2011

On Tuesday, December 20, 2011 12:39:05 AM Jeff Bacon wrote:

> 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?).

Yeah, if you want 10Gbps ports at a decent price, the 
ASR9000 or MX-series are your best bets, to be honest.

> 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.

ASR1013 is about as many ports as you can get, but that 
doesn't make any sense as an ASR9000 or MX quickly becomes a 
better option if port density is your issue.

> 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.)

Rosen is not planned until Q2'12.

We're also waiting for Multicast to arrive on this platform, 
but of the NG-MVPN variety. That will be farther out than 

We considered various interim options for Multicast using 
VPLS or EoMPLS, e.t.c., but it simply isn't scalable. The 
Multicast would end up becoming Unicast, and that isn't good 
:-). That said, Cisco do plan to support VPLS LSM, which 
would be a good thing, as well as VPLS-aware IGMP Snooping.

> 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???

	o Until recently, only the ME3800X supported VPLS.
	  However, VPLS support has been included in the
 	  software for the ME3600X as well. As of the latest
	  shipping IOS release for the platform, native VPLS
	  is now supported (I haven't tested it, but I see
	  signs of BGP-AD support in there). Early versions
	  of the code supported only H-VPLS.

	o The ME3800X has bigger buffers than the ME3600X.

	o The ME3800X has more TCAM space than the ME3600X.

	o The ME3800X has different scaling licenses as

	o Cisco are pushing the ME3800X as more of a pre
	  -aggregation device, and the ME3600X as a pure
	  Access device. Of course, all this is meaningless
	  to operators and you can choose to do whatever you
	  want with the device as it makes sense to you :-).

	o The ME3800X doesn't require you to pay for the
	  additional 10Gbps license for the uplinks.

Otherwise, either model of the platform supports the same 
forwarding performance levels.

> Any major gotchas with this platform?

Tons, but only because it's a new platform. The list has a 
good archive on that so far - I and Reuben had a good 
discussion about this last week. 

Basically, lack of features and bugs in existing ones. 
Expect these to be ironed out over the next 2 to 3 years, 
from my estimates.

Overall, I think it's a platform worth investing in. It has 
a very, very bright future.


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