[c-nsp] NCS-5501/NCS-5502 as border/core routers

David Hubbard dhubbard at dino.hostasaurus.com
Wed Aug 23 04:19:11 EDT 2017

Hey Simon, I’m going to be deploying the 5501se in the edge role to replace some Brocade MLXe’s that can no longer fit a full v4+v6 route table in CAM while also supporting VRF’s.  I weighed several options but ultimately felt like the 2M FIB gave me a comfort level slightly higher than competing products that were in the “1M+” or 1.3M range.

The pricing & licensing almost killed the deal before I executed it.  I didn’t look at the 5502se since I won’t need more than (4) 100gig, but on the 5501se, the base price only includes eight of the forty 10gig ports active, and none (!) of the 100gig.  You have to buy license enable kits for each block of additional eight 10gig ports (part NC5501-80G-SE-LIC=, $14k list), and a license enabler for each single 100gig port (not sure of part, same list price as the 8x10gig, but on a single port, yikes).  A fully activated 5501se I think lists in the $300k range, and I know no one pays list, but it’s still just a stupid number for a 40/10+4/100 switch.  The lead time is inexplicably long currently too, which makes me think they’re either flying off the shelves, or no one’s buying them lol; I’m still expecting 4+ more weeks before my order from a few weeks ago shows up.

If it were not for the difference between 1.3M and 2M FIB, I’d have gone Arista 7280R2A series (part 7280SR2A-48YC6) which is their Jericho+ platform and will do 1.3M routes, (48) 1/10/25gig ports, (6) 100gig that can also do breakout, all ports active, much lower cost.  I had an order for a bunch of other Cisco stuff going out and was able to get the overall numbers where I wanted them to be to execute the 5501’s, but had that not been the case, I’d likely have been buying more Arista (already use the 7280SE for non-edge roles) and seeing how long the 1.3M routes would last.

If you’re considering the 5502se, which is significantly more expensive than 5501se of course, you may want to look at Arista’s 7280CR2K (the K is important).  I believe that 30 or 60-port 100gig device can do 2M and I’d be shocked if it were not much more cost effective than the 5502se.  Supposedly this fall they’re going to be pushing table size further on the lower series devices, so if I had the time to spare, may not be a bad idea to wait and see what they come out with.  I’ve got some further out projects I’m waiting on that for versus buying more 5501se’s now.

On 8/23/17, 2:40 AM, "cisco-nsp on behalf of Simon Lockhart" <cisco-nsp-bounces at puck.nether.net on behalf of simon at slimey.org> wrote:

    I'm currently trying to plan some upgrades for one of my networks where we 
    currently use Cat6500/Sup2T as both 'core' and 'border' routers, but are very
    rapidly outgrowing them. I've recently split off the L2 transport aspects from
    the 6500's onto 100G capable switches (I ended up using Extreme X690/X870 here)
    which has freed up some capacity, but now looking at what to do about the L3
    routing aspects, working with full Internet routing tables.
    I'd always planned to move up to the ASR9k for this, but the price of 100G
    ports for them is eyewateringly expensive when compared to switching boxes. I
    then stumbled across the NCS-5501-SE and NCS-5502-SE boxes. These, on paper,
    look ideal - the 5501's as border routers with 100G uplinks to the core, and
    the 5502's as core routers in our main datacentres. In particular, the 5502
    appears to give me 48 x 100G ports for way less than the cost of ASR9k with 
    just 4 x 100G ports.
    I fully recognise the difference between L3 switches (which I see the NCS
    boxes as) and true routers - I've been using the Cat6500 in this role for
    7+ years!
    Are there people on this list who are actively using these boxes like this?
    Any gotchas, recommendations, scare stories? Does anyone understand the
    licensing on them? I've struggled to find any Cisco published information
    about what is/isn't included in each of the license options...
    Many thanks,
    cisco-nsp mailing list  cisco-nsp at puck.nether.net
    archive at http://puck.nether.net/pipermail/cisco-nsp/

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