[NANOG] Alcatel

Anyone use Alcatel switches in their network...like the 6850
omniswitch? What are your thoughts on them?

What about Alcatel's MPLS edge routers like the 7x50 products that
came from Timetra...anyone have any experience with them? Are they a
good product?


I'll chime in and say that the 7450/7750 are very nice boxes. Their non-stop routing feature is something that other vendors are barely starting to support, years after they started doing it. Now they are onto features like cross-chassis 802.3ad, etc. that no one else is doing in a SP router platform. The 7450 which is priced against switch-like devices like the C76xx and the JMXxxx is a decent competitor to those platforms. The 5260 is actually a decent NMS which is something I never thought I'd say about a NMS, although the pricing model isn't very good.


Yeah, I'll agree with that. I've raved about the 5620SAM (not to be confused with the 5620NM, which manage ATM etc. boxes) for a while. It's the only NMS I've seen [1] that exposes /everything/ to the end user. If someone updates stuff on the CLI, a trap is send, and the graphical display updates within seconds, even for what you'd think were really obscure things. The dev work for these products is done in parallel I believe, instead of as a separate product line.

As with most vendor specific NMSs, you want to use 7x50 boxes exclusively for a certain function. I.e. 7x50 only boxes on the edge.

The 7x50's have some kinda weird ways of doing things, and you really want to do a training course to understand how they work - they are quite a big paradigm change, and you'll end up doing things sub-optimally unless you understand how they're supposed to function. The major thing is the config is service oriented. I.e. on a traditional box, you configure a bunch of parameters all over the place, and a certain service pops out. With these Alcatel-Lucent boxes, you configure a service, and the parameters are implied somewhat.

Interop is fine, but you'll find that many of the knobs are called different things to what you're used to - mostly as a function of that paradigm change.

Ask for a v6 roadmap. Last time I looked (~ a year ago) there were some strange limitations, for example, a surprisingly small max v6 routing table.

Garbage, the 7750/7450 are complete junk boxes. Here is why...

- For fun, view a 7750/7540 router configuration file and grep for
the word "exit". Count how many times you see that word. To sum it up,
the CLI is kind of annoying. Lets just say the 7x50 rivals a Bay Annex
CLI for uselessness.

- They attempted to mimic the Juniper style of policy-statements, but
they still fall short of it. Whats up with the pseudo-commit crap?

- The majority of ALU folks supporting the 7x50 are all from former
failed router vendors (caspian, nexabit, etc). When you deal with such
teams, keep your operator hat on and realize that some of the stuff
being suggested are from people who've never worked in production.

- 7x50 is about 1-2 years behind Cisco and Juniper on any feature
functionality on the boxes.

- The ALU business unit has no comprehension why users want to
interface with the box via CLI as opposed to their SAM EMS junk. The
BU and the former Newbridge developers think folks run their network
from a Sparc via a GUI. Times have changed...NETCONF what?

- If you haven't run into any BGP scaling issues yet, you will, soon.

- Limited RSVP-TE support...nothing compared to Juniper.

There are plenty of other better options like the Cisco 6500/7600 as
well as the Juniper MX. Why settle for sub-standard CLI, weak features
and a business unit who has no operational experience and their only
claim to fame was gobbling up companies and exploiting their long-time
industry friendships to seal massive deals.

I know some will reply to talk about their great failover is and this
and that, whatever. To get the box where it is today a lot of pain was
endured by plenty of customers who had to deal with a not-so-nice
Alcatel. The box pricing is not that great and for the same money you
can find better elsewhere.

I think we should keep this list as much neutral as we may regarding individual preferences.

Why some of you keep writing offensive mails to those who write neutral ones or to those who know less than what you THINK you know.

Have you heard about: "All we are ignorants, the thing is that we ignore different things"?

So my recommendation for life is: try to be more modest 'cos as some one say somewhere: life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.

By the way, I'm not related to any vendor, nor any manufacturer company... oh, even not from USA... so this is as much neutral as may get!


Paul Wall wrote:

Why be neutral? If something is better, then it is better. Whenever I have tried a vendor other than Cisco for a routing or switching solution, I regretted it. Now I use Cisco equipment exclusively except where they do not make that product I need [such as FatPipe MPVPN].


Ok, I agree with you, may be I didn't explain myself clear: I meant "neutral" in the sense of relation with each other (i.e. Not being hostile).


Tim Sanderson wrote:

hopefully we're all big boys and girls and can identify a strong
opinion when we see one. are we supposed to be afraid of speaking our
mind because it might hurt a vendors feelings? I mean, I could take
offense to the fact you mentioned you're not from the US -- implying
that all US citizens are generally hostile in their opinions; but I

Tim's simply giving his opinion as the OP requested -- in a much more
mature manner than a few other posts on this list in the past...

I have been using the 7750/7450 in a couple of my production environments.
I have to say this: AMAZING. I have had very little problems with these
machines. Their support has been amazing. I would recommend these machines
to anyone. Beware of the price though. You def. get what you pay for with
the 7750.

John Menerick