Upgrade options from 3750 stack

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Mar 5th, 2008
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We currently have a stack of 5 3750s which operate as combined core and distribution switches (for the building where our data center is located). The breakdown is 2 WS-C3750G-24TS and 3 WS-C3750-48TS. This gives us 212 ports, of which roughly 140 are currently in use.

We've received approval to upgrade some of our network hardware. The basic plan is to replace this stack, and push those switches out to branch locations to replace some EOL models (2950, 3524).

We're anticipating the need for increased bandwidth in the coming year, due to implementation of a SAN array, as well as a blade chassis (with integrated Cisco 3020s, of course :)).

Should I be looking at a chassis, or possibly going to something like the 3750E series and sticking with the stack config?

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Joseph W. Doherty Wed, 03/05/2008 - 19:16
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The 3750Es are often very attractive relative to the 4500 or 6500 chassis in the smaller stack densities (say 4 [or 5?] or less; couple more when compared to chassis with dual sups). Performance wise, they provide, generally, double or more vs. the original 3750s. They can even offer more performance, in some situations, than 4500s or 6500s.

Should you look at a chassis? Probably yes, because they still have some other advantages. Important for you to analyze what you need and what the various series provides.

jeff.velten Thu, 03/06/2008 - 06:40
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Thanks for the reply, Joseph. We're looking to maintain or current port count, at a minimum. Bumping our servers up to 10Gbps, as well as the SAN array, would be a plus.

We've got about 300 users hitting about two dozen servers. Most of the servers, except for a few with very low-bandwidth apps, are on gig ports.

Unfortunately, as a county government, cost is always a factor, so I'm trying to get some opinions on the most bang for my buck.

We are also weighing the idea of something like Figure C here: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10879-6149096.html, which would allow us to consolidate a lot of our data center cabling.

Joseph W. Doherty Thu, 03/06/2008 - 07:33
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Figure C is interesting! I work with a customer using the layout in figure A, but with a stack of 3750-Es in lieu of the chassis.

If you really want to get the most value, although with a hit against performance, you can mix and match 3750s with 3750-Es. You can mix them into the same stack, although negates Stackwise+ enhancements, or have two stacks, user and core/server. The user could use 10/100 3750 models. The core/server 3750-E models. You can interconnect the two stacks via multiple (inexpensive) copper gig channels.

If you want to provide 10/100/1000 to users, you can still use mainly 3750s but might have one 3750-E in that stack so you can interconnect the two stacks with 10 gig (or a channeled pair).

jeff.velten Wed, 03/12/2008 - 08:23
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Just to show you how IT projects can snowball, I'm currently waiting on a quote from our Cisco partner, after a conference call with them and Cisco. Since initially posting this thread, a few new projects/requirements have popped up, the most relevant is the addition of a second POP at our Emergency Operations Center, which brings up an additional need for BGRP/load balancing/failover.

The quote that developed out of this conversation includes 2 6500 chassis with Virtual 720 Sup, a few edge switches (to replace EOL models), and firewall upgrades. It's going to be fun presenting this to the Board... :)


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