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Wired Networks Thread, New core switch that isn't a core switch in Technical; So. Quick bit of background: I used to work in a school, now I'm IT manager for a subsidised local ...
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    dayzd's Avatar
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    New core switch that isn't a core switch

    So. Quick bit of background: I used to work in a school, now I'm IT manager for a subsidised local theatre. We have even less money than schools. Like, almost nothing. Everything is old and IMHO my predecessor invested in the wrong technologies when there was money available.

    I'm looking to upgrade our very old (circa 2001/2) HP Procurve switches. We have a 4108G core switch and 4x 2524 switches. There are gigabit fibre uplinks between switches, but edge connections to equipment are all 100Mb, making this to all intents and purposes, a 100Mb network. As we all know these days, gigabit networking is virtually a basic requirement, especially for servers, high demand users and backup systems, so I'm trying to figure out how I can get gigabit connections to at least a few important pieces of equipment within the organisation.

    There is no way we can afford a proper core switch, so I'd like some opinions on what I can do in this situation:
    Is it feasible /practical /sensible to 'daisy chain' 2-4 smaller switches with some aggregated links between them for bandwidth? Or should I just get the best switch I can afford?
    Is eBay a sensible option? I've not found out if I'm allowed to use eBay yet, but I'd have reservations about it for important kit like this...

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
    Last edited by dayzd; 11th July 2012 at 11:11 AM.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Stacking switches is entirely sensible and worthwhile, as it gives you redundancy (particularly if you double up on your backbone connections). I've just put a pair of HP A5800s stacked at my core and they do a wonderful job.

    If your needs are not too high there's no reason why you couldn't get away with smaller than that though - the A5120s I use at the edge are solid, (CLI) manageable, stackable switches, and a pair of 48-port GBe switches would probably run you about 5k new once the stacking modules/cables are in place (cheaper for 24 port models, more for PoE).

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    dayzd (11th July 2012)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    How full is the 4108g? Have you looked at adding/replacing modules with gigabit modules? The 4108 supports LACP if you have spare gigabit links you can daisy chain bonded cables to new switches assuming the new switches support LACP, it'd give you a better tan 1Gbps backbone between switches depending on how many connections you bond.

    Just a couple of random thoughts/ideas.

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    What about the juniper ex4500 I think these are great core switches.
    Last edited by nicholab; 11th July 2012 at 11:53 AM.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Do you actually need 1Gbit to the desktop?

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    plexer's Avatar
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    I'd agree on the 1gig requirements for servers and backup systems but for the majority of your users it isn't required.

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Stacking switches is entirely sensible and worthwhile, as it gives you redundancy (particularly if you double up on your backbone connections). I've just put a pair of HP A5800s stacked at my core and they do a wonderful job.

    If your needs are not too high there's no reason why you couldn't get away with smaller than that though - the A5120s I use at the edge are solid, (CLI) manageable, stackable switches, and a pair of 48-port GBe switches would probably run you about 5k new once the stacking modules/cables are in place (cheaper for 24 port models, more for PoE).
    Stacking or Uplinking?

    A True stack will carry the backplane up the stack not just a 100 or 100mb link.

    Rob

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    I'd agree on the 1gig requirements for servers and backup systems but for the majority of your users it isn't required.

    Ben
    99% of the time users complain of slowness and it involves the internet or is a client PC problem. So giving them a faster uplink doesn't do much. The only time GigE help is if you do a lot of imaging, or your users are dealing with huge files (audio, video, images, databases, etc).

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    +1 for the Junipers - any of the lower end EX Switches either the 2200 or the 4500. Very cheap too but VERY solid & reliable!!!!

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Also worth pointing out that your existing HP 4108 has a lifetime warranty and when I was looking at replacing mine I found the only thing it wasn't capable of was IPv6 routing. Most HP Procurve products have lifetime warranties. Are you upgrading because they're are 'old' or because you need features the 4108 can't be modified to support?

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    If money is that short, contact ICT Direct and see what they have in stock.

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    dayzd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    How full is the 4108g? Have you looked at adding/replacing modules with gigabit modules? The 4108 supports LACP if you have spare gigabit links you can daisy chain bonded cables to new switches assuming the new switches support LACP, it'd give you a better tan 1Gbps backbone between switches depending on how many connections you bond.
    There's a couple of vacant slots at the bottom. So far I've been under the impression it didn't support LACP as I've been unable to find the configuration settings for it. Do you know if it's module-dependant?
    I've not looked too hard at getting new modules, because from some quick Googling, they appear to be quite expensive. I should look harder, but for now I'm just trying to figure out the best route technically...

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    I'd agree on the 1gig requirements for servers and backup systems but for the majority of your users it isn't required.
    99% of the time users complain of slowness and it involves the internet or is a client PC problem. So giving them a faster uplink doesn't do much. The only time GigE help is if you do a lot of imaging, or your users are dealing with huge files (audio, video, images, databases, etc).
    I'm not pandering to users right now, or trying to put GigE everywhere. Just make it available for more important places - servers, NAS boxes, high-bandwidth users (like our marketing dept who throw large print-resolution graphics around like it's going out of fashion). If I can cover more of the regular users, great, but I do have a fairly narrow focus to start with.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Also worth pointing out that your existing HP 4108 has a lifetime warranty and when I was looking at replacing mine I found the only thing it wasn't capable of was IPv6 routing. Most HP Procurve products have lifetime warranties. Are you upgrading because they're are 'old' or because you need features the 4108 can't be modified to support?
    I was looking because as I mentioned above, I cannot find any LACP config settings (and assumed it didn't support it). There's probably mileage left in it if it does! Which makes life easier, as I may only need a couple of smaller switches to speed up everything I'm looking at...

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dayzd View Post
    I was looking because as I mentioned above, I cannot find any LACP config settings (and assumed it didn't support it). There's probably mileage left in it if it does! Which makes life easier, as I may only need a couple of smaller switches to speed up everything I'm looking at...
    Well my core switch is a 4108gl and I can be 100% certain it supports LACP. I use it to provide 2Gbps links to our virtual machine host servers. It's not, to my knowledge, module specific. If you telnet into the switch and run the 'menu' command, then it is Option-2, followed by Option-2 to get in to the Port/Trunk settings. You need to edit the ports individually, give them the same trunk number and set the trunk type to LACP.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    It's under port/trunk settings in the CLI menu.

    Ben

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    plexer's Avatar
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    You can choose wether it's a trunk or LACP

    Ben

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