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CISCO SWITCHES FOR SMALL and MEDIUM BUSINESS

Introducing the next generation of Cisco Small and Medium Business Switches. Cisco is refreshing its SMB Switch portfolio. Click here  to learn more.


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Beginner

Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

I have some interest in the SG-300 or SG-500 small business switches for small to moderate usage.

This are rack switches but my question is if someone is actually using them in a datacenter rack with public servers instead of the catalysts?

I understand they are small business units but would they stand the heat, vibration in a rack? How good are they on practice?

I have an older catalyst, it costs less new now than some of this small business ones, but I really need gigabit ports for internal LAN traffic and my DC tells me none has this small business units in their DC, its not normal to use them as they are not high performance switches. Im worried with going with a small business device which are actually Linksys, and not Cisco. I have some Linksys devices for personal and home usage and they are still going for years. But I don´t know how they perform outside this enviroments. I need to stay under 1000$ per switch.

Would they fail in a couple of months? Can they be clustered (2 switches) so if one fails the other one takes the network until I replace the failed one? If yes, I could take the risk but a single dying switch would be a disaster.

My needs are low, gigabit speeds between servers for backup, and some storage, but usually less then 50 mbit on the public WAN. Are these switches really only for small office use or would they work fine with servers in a facility? If yes, I would love to hear some real experiences, everyone I ask, most of them say not go with this switches but then why are they even rackable? They can´t be this bad or they are really not designed for 24/7 usage?

I would appreciate some experiences with how much traffic are you passing on them and for how long (months) because I don´t know anyone using them so far in a remote facility.

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Advocate

Re: Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

Catalyst have backplanes and shared ASIC. The SX300 and SX500 series does not. If you do not need things like Route protocols (OSPF, BPG, IS-IS), VTP, CEF then these switches are fine.

The switch generally does not have hardware failure unless it is due to external powering issues. An actual failure, the MTBF is probably 4-5 years and I say this because The SX300 hasn't been out any longer and I truthfully never seen one die except from power issues (storms, electric surges, etc). I've seen ports die once and a while but that doesn't matter much considering the switches are lifetime hardware with free advanace replacement...

If you plan on using these switches as an edge with high throughput, especially in layer 2 I seriously doubt you'll break this thing.

I am still not sold on the robustness in layer 3 environments as a core but for sub 300 people it's a good switch. To address another concept, the SX500X switches support VRRP.

-Tom
Please mark answered for helpful posts

-Tom Please mark answered for helpful posts http://blogs.cisco.com/smallbusiness/

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Hall of Fame Community Legend

Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

I have some interest in the SG-300 or SG-500 small business switches for small to moderate usage.

If you want to use this for iLO/DRAK port, then these are fine.  But if you want these switches to do production traffic, I'm not sure it can handle the continuous data traffic from servers.

Highlighted
Cisco Employee

Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

A few points:

1) These switches are Cisco devices, not Linksys, and have been developed strictly according to Cisco standards for quality

2) The switches are wirespeed, non-blocking with forwarding performed in the silicon. You cannot get any faster than that. So, yes, they can handle sustained throughput at line rate, including sustained traffic from servers.

3) This has been proven in the lab by 3rd party test companies. See here for two different tests with the 300 and 500 Series switches:

https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-27370

https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-23309

I believe the reports speak for themselves so I encourage you to download and read.

4) We ship over 22 million switch ports of these switches per year. Switches are deployed in all kinds of deployment scenarios, including data center.

Highlighted
Beginner

Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

Thank you for that information, I imagined this switches must be deliver what they advertise, its rather strange that most admins recommend me not to go with them and just go with catalysts series, even if its a smaller or older unit, because new ones are in the thousands for similar requirements in terms of ports and I do need the gigabit ports for internal server to server traffic. This SMB switches have very nice management features which I strangely could not even find in the catalysts ones, not at least from reading in the Cisco website, sure they don´t have netflow and other advanced stuff but they seem to be layer 3 switches (think they require an upgrade if I read correctly in the forums).

So when exactly would someone go or upgrade to a catalyst?

From your comment this are made by Cisco and they can sustain constant traffic in ports, so why would I not go with them? The report does compare them with Dlink and Netgear and I would never ever go with those in a datacenter, maybe for home but not for servers. Its all Cisco for me, maybe even the high HP ones, I was actually suggested those in the price range I want to stick, but I do prefer to go with Cisco even if its not their high end switches for this setup.

Highlighted
Hall of Fame Community Legend

Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

So when exactly would someone go or upgrade to a catalyst

1.  Depends on the size of your network;

2.  Fundings; and

3.  Future-proofing.

If you have a company with the size of 100 people, would you want a Catalyst switch?  No I personally wouldn't. 

Highlighted
Beginner

Re: Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

But that is not a fair comparision. Im one person and have currently catalysts in production. It would rather depend on traffic size and time of use.

I would assume its not the same to have peaks of 500 mbits for one hour a day in some office with a constant of 10 mbits going in and out in trough in office hours (usually 8hs) vs a rack with 10 servers where its pushing 100 mbits 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and with 1 gigabit peaks, several a day.

This is not my case, its just one example, but that is why I posted this here since public internet servers in a high density datacenters require usually the catalyst series, that is what you usually see. I have one setup where I only push 20 mbits on average with 100 mbit peaks, short burst per day, but those 20 mbits need to be 24 hours a day just dropping a bit at night. So its not just about quantity but for how long. It runs an older 2950 which I want to replace with a SG500, mainly for its 52 gigabit ports which I need for server to server connectivity.

Reason I asked is someone is actually pushing constantly data via these switches vs just office deployments. The 500 series seems to be stackable and have resilent setups, so they are quite interesting for starting out with moderate to medium usage. My fear factor is not if they will be able to push what they advertise on each port, but for how long until they fail or start to act strange like dropping packets or requiring reboots. 1 year? 6 months, 2 years?

Does someone even know what the MTBF is for this small business units? They are Cisco so I do expect the best out of them. I would assume they are just as good as the high end ones, but with some less features, in particular for advanced network setups.

Highlighted
Advocate

Re: Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

Catalyst have backplanes and shared ASIC. The SX300 and SX500 series does not. If you do not need things like Route protocols (OSPF, BPG, IS-IS), VTP, CEF then these switches are fine.

The switch generally does not have hardware failure unless it is due to external powering issues. An actual failure, the MTBF is probably 4-5 years and I say this because The SX300 hasn't been out any longer and I truthfully never seen one die except from power issues (storms, electric surges, etc). I've seen ports die once and a while but that doesn't matter much considering the switches are lifetime hardware with free advanace replacement...

If you plan on using these switches as an edge with high throughput, especially in layer 2 I seriously doubt you'll break this thing.

I am still not sold on the robustness in layer 3 environments as a core but for sub 300 people it's a good switch. To address another concept, the SX500X switches support VRRP.

-Tom
Please mark answered for helpful posts

-Tom Please mark answered for helpful posts http://blogs.cisco.com/smallbusiness/

View solution in original post

Highlighted
Cisco Employee

Re: Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

The calculated MTBFs for these products are published on the datasheets. All of them are in excess of 7.5 years and most of them are 11+ years.

These switches have a rich functionality set at an attractive price point. If this meets your needs, it is a compelling solution. What Catalyst offers on top of what the 300/500 series offers is:

1) IOS software which is even more feature rich and has been in existence much longer and much more widely deployed than any other product in the market. With that longevity comes stability, flexibility, and investment protection.

2) Support for the Cisco Enterprise architectures - Trustsec, Medianet, Energywise, etc

3) Longer lifecycles

4) Richer management options with Cisco Prime, ISE, and others

5) Enterprise Services and Support

6) Catalyst platforms scale into the largest networks in the world

Highlighted
Beginner

Re: Someone uses this switches in a datacenter?

Thank you for that information, that is great to hear, yes power issues can break anything network related actually. Power in a DC is very stable so storms and power outages are not an issue as opposed to my home office where I lost more than one networking equipment in storms before, including nic cards on workstations, ip phones, modems, etc.

I actually wanted to use this as layer 3, in Amazon, reviews said it requires a firmware upgrade and I read in other places that the firmware was buggy but the latest seems to be stable.

Maybe with a future firmware they do work fine in layer 3, if its hardware related nothing will fix that, but if its acutally just buggy software, that can be solved in time as firmwares get more stable for those devices.

But based on this replies I feel safe now, I think I will give it a shoot. The features look very nice for the money, in particular the SG500 line.