New ethernet swtiches

it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
We are "all in" with Brocade as our vendor to replace all of our HP switches. We are also replacing our ageing Fiber channel switches with Brocade's new 16GB ASIC models which will double or triple our storage throughput depending on what the host HBA we are replacing was running at. We are also using Brocade's BR 1860 converged HBA which is dual personality ethernet/FC so in addition to boosting the storage speed, I am also getting 10 GB ethernet.

We pitted them against Cisco (Cisco has a TRILL like technology) and price and support wise they were really not close. A lot came down to the price of the optics and the price of the hardened switches. We need 37 temperature hardened switches and Cisco's were $1K more expensive than Brocade. We could have looked at Juniper but we wanted the same manufacturer on the storage and IP side so it was down to Cisco and Brocade.

Brocade Virtual Cluster Switching 2-Minute Explainer - YouTube

Virtual cluster switching is pretty cool. In essence, it lifts the switching architecture from the FC side and lays it into the ethernet side. We bought 6 VCS capable switches for our datacenter core where our virtual hosts will be on the 10 GB fabric. We invested in 10 GB long range optics (10 KM) to go out to our DR site so our VM replication, backup, and failover SAN can be accessed more quickly. We are also bonding together, we have 8 fiber strands to our DR location, 2 16 GB FC links so the storage traffic has lots and lots of bandwidth for its replication.

Our IT Director was nervous about not using Cisco, but a $100K price difference helped change her mind. Plus, we learned that Lockheed Martin's internal IT dropped Cisco in favor of Brocade ethernet and FC with Juniper at the switching core.

Comments

  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    100k is 100k. Hard to argue with those numbers.
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I looked at these, but while they where cheap, they just don't have a track record on the Ethernet side of things.

    I had the Brocade guys in to present there wares, and while they did have some nice features, There was a lot of other vendor bashing, rather than simple trying to sell the product on its own merits.

    Then asking one of our vendors who is a Cisco/HP/Brocade reseller, they did not have much good to say, and garter did not look to much better. May be in a few years when they have proved them selves I might give them a second look, but right now its to early in the game for me to put our company forward.

    The Virtual Switching Cluster was really the only big thing I saw from them. They did have good through puts as well, but still to much of an unknown.

    I am still sitting between HP and CISCO for our core. I suppose being academic, we get massive reductions in CISCO that puts them much closer to the likes of HP and Juniper in terms of cost.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    Brocade bought Foundry in 2008, which is where they get their ethernet line. I have seen Foundry used many places - ISP's especially, often right next to Cisco and Ad tran stuff. We are also a non-profit, but even then the initial acquisition and year over year costs they were not competitive. Cisco did come in with a MUCH more aggressively priced FC offering with their MDS switches.

    My reseller was not negative to Brocade but much more willing talk Cisco and Juniper. I think there are two things at play here. Cisco has better name recognition and training, and Cisco resellers get a better markup on Cisco gear. That might come from the support side, where Cisco cleans up (SMARTNET is pricey).

    There should be no vendor bashing by sales people, I hate that. We had the storage side Brocade guys bash QLOGIC and while we didn't buy QLOGIC, it was really classless of them to do that. The ethernet guys were much better. They basically said "We can beat our competition on price and features" and left it at that. Turns out they could, and they did. I was the one that said "thats a lot of money for green spraypaint".
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Is should point out we use Brocade for FC, and they did heavily push the fact that they had brought up Foundry.

    Its a bit like Hp as well, buying out 3COM, a lot of the features they have go from 3COM are great, but the total offering still feels a bit hashed together. Which way it will go reminds to be seen, Great network solutions or a bit of a washed out offering, HP feel like then need another few development cycles before there stuff based on 3COM is ready for use. And when I played with the Brocade Ethernet stuff it was the same feeling.

    Just not quite polished off yet.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    If by "Hashed together" you mean everything about the 3COM line is exactly the same except now it has an HP part number and a little "HP Networking" sticker on the box then you are absolutely correct. Brocade finally stopped all the "Fastiron" etc nomenclature from the Foundry days and made the switch line their own. Luckily for them, they didn't have an ethernet OS already in place so they didn't have to merge code or anything - like what HP will have to do.
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    its more that the 3COM OS does not feel a polished OS, like HP need to do a lot of work getting it feeling like a real enterprise solution. HP are not merging code, they are keeping the Procurve and 3Com business separate. Making it feel like the merge is not near completed yet.

    Brocade felt the same, a bit of a two horse solution that din't feel polished and was not sure where they aimed to end up sitting in the big picture.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg CompTIA A+, Network+. Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Sorry for hijacking the thread - DevilWAH, your signature is still from 2011. Get with the times man!
    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    TE Threads: How to study for the CCENT/CCNA, Introduction to Cisco Exams

  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    DevilWAH wrote: »
    its more that the 3COM OS does not feel a polished OS, like HP need to do a lot of work getting it feeling like a real enterprise solution. HP are not merging code, they are keeping the Procurve and 3Com business separate. Making it feel like the merge is not near completed yet.

    Brocade felt the same, a bit of a two horse solution that din't feel polished and was not sure where they aimed to end up sitting in the big picture.

    For brocade the big picture is a converged ethernet and storage network. They have seen the writing on the wall and by the time we are all installing 40 GB ethernet they accept that the business case for a separate FC network won't be there. So far Cisco and Brocade are the only ones that really see this coming.
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    For brocade the big picture is a converged ethernet and storage network. They have seen the writing on the wall and by the time we are all installing 40 GB ethernet they accept that the business case for a separate FC network won't be there. So far Cisco and Brocade are the only ones that really see this coming.

    That was one thing that did make me look at them, In my previous life I had dealt with a lot of ISCSI, and the fact they do a converged solution, make a very attractive migration path for companies that have a large FC set up. I like the idea of a network that gives you the choice and allows you to mix the solutions across a single vendor network.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Roguetadhg wrote: »
    Sorry for hijacking the thread - DevilWAH, your signature is still from 2011. Get with the times man!

    Got bored of updating my profile after the first year, done enough that feel no need to broadcast it all over the web ;)
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    I think where switches like Extreme, Brocade, Arista, Enterasys, fall out of favor is the comfort blanket factor. I know that the CLI of the Brocade is way more similar to Cisco than either Cisco or Brocade is to say...HP. I know so many Cisco trained network guys who wont touch a non-Cisco switch because that is all they ever learned and because of that, the perception of it being higher quality simply because of the green spray paint is strong. That is easy to reinforce because it is very easy to get study materials for the CCNA/NP, it is easy to come to forums like this and find 50 people who are Cisco experts. Have you ever tried to become an HP Master ASE for networking? What a pain in the butt. The actual failure rate of Cisco and HP is practically the same so its hard to argue that Cisco makes a better switch than HP. It is easy to say that Cisco MAKES more switches than HP, they certainly do. That is not quite the same as saying they are better than HPs.
  • DevilWAHDevilWAH Member Posts: 2,997 ■■■■■■■■□□
    having used CISCO and HP both quite a lot now, I would say CISCO have a much better and more mature OS. Thats not to say the feature sets on the devices are better, but the OS enables you to make better use of them.

    And in my view, the usability of an OS is almost as important as the underlying ability of the physical devices it is running.
    • If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein
    • An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties. It means that its going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.
  • it_consultantit_consultant Member Posts: 1,903
    And of course...we are ripping out HP for Brocade icon_smile.gif. I used HP as my comparo because they are the second largest switch manufacturer next to Cisco.
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