New Core Switches / rollout of new switches
An opportunity has arisen to spend some money so long as it is spent quick.
At the moment I have a single 3COM 5500G as my core switch, that connects all the servers and ultimately all the switches. This is both old and without a failover of any kind, which makes me nervous, as it is the very definition of a SPOF.
The rest of the school is 3COM switches of varying ages and decrepitude, and they are, generally speaking, a bit flaky and a pain in the proverbial.
So this is what I'd like to do, with your advice kind EduGeekers: I want to pick a new brand of switch (nominally one of HP, Cisco, Juniper, but feel free to make suggestions), I want to have a redundant core, and I want to be able to slowly roll out a replacement program over the course of the next few years using that same brand, to generally improve the network infrastructure.
These core switches in particular would be best if they had 802.3ad support, for proper load balancing on servers. There's a good number of fibre runs around the school that at the moment, connect to other switches that then Cat5 into the core, which can be a bottleneck; any way of improving this would be appreciated, be it multiple fibre ports or 10Gb ports to connect to other switches in the rack, removing the bottleneck. The core only needs 24 ports to cover the servers (currently 2x6 for virtual hosts, 2x2 for other physical servers, but I want room for expansion to another virtual host in future, possibly); it may then need more depending on how the other switches will connect (currently 4 other switches in that cabinet).
Any particular recommendations? The core switches specifically I would rather do right and not cheap out, but the brand in general should be fairly good VFM if possible, as I'm going to have to scrape and scrimp to get the rest of the kit in across the network over the coming years...