I have been working on a proposal for the organization I work for to move into the 10gbit datacenter. We have a small datacenter currently of about 1000 ports of 1gbit. We have traditionally been a full Cisco shop, however I was asked to do a price comparison as well as features with other major alternative vendors. I was also asked to do some digging as far as what "the real world" thinks about these possible vendors.
We currently have 2 Cisco 6509's with 8 48 port cards Sup 3BXL, 2 Cisco 4506 with 5x 48 port card and Sup V's and 2 4900M switches providing 10gbit to a very specialized implementation. With all of our technology, we try to not be bleeding edge, but oozing edge. We need 5 9's or more of uptime yearly so stability is preferable to cool features. We currently have single supervisors in all of our switches (not my decision) and it has bit us recently. Everything we are looking at needs to support NSF/SSO/VSS of some kind.
What we have been looking to replace it with in Cisco world is Nexus 7004 Core and Nexus 5596UP with 2200 series Fabric extenders for Dist/Access as well as 2200 Fabric Extenders within our Dell Blade Chassis. Realistically we will be under 800 ports of 10gbit (excluding Blades) which puts us in a tough spot from what I can find. Currently everything we have is EOR, however TOR would make more sense allowing us to switch to SFP+ twinax connectivity to servers.
With this in mind, I have a few questions...
It was mandated that I look at a company "Arista Networks" and investigate possible options. I had not heard much about them, so I look to the experts. Pro's and Con's? Real world experience? Looks to me they have a lot of cool features, but I'm slightly concerned with how new they might be, how reliable it would be as well as their QA/bugfix history. Also 24x4 support and hardware replacement. Everything in our datacenter currently has a 2 or 4 hour cisco contract on it and critical core components have a cold spare in inventory.
Dell Force 10... I know Dell tries to get you to drink the Koolaid on this solution, I was a former Dell Partner and they even pushed me to get demo equipment going... What's the experience with their chassis switches? Stability? Configuration sanity? What do people like? What do people hate?
Juniper. What do people like? What do people hate? Have the Layer 2 issues of historical age gone away? Is the config still xml ish? It has been about 5 years since I worked with anything Juniper.
Extreme networks. I know very little about them historically. What is good, what is bad? Is the config sane?
I would be happy to compile any information I find, as well as our sanitized internal conclusions. On and off list responses welcome.
If there is another vendor anyone would suggest, please add them to the list with similarly asked questions.