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EX4500 or QFX3500 at core?

EX4500 or QFX3500 at core?

(OP)
Currently our network consists of a Cisco 6509E at the core and Cisco 3560's at the edge. We will be upgrading our network this summer and are thinking about EX4200's at the edge and either two EX4500's or two QFX3500's at the core. At first glance the big differences between these two switch lines seem to be:

The EX4500's can use Virtual Chassis while the QFX3500 cannot
The QFX3500 has much lower latency and much higher throughput than the EX4500. This is true for L2/L3 traffic whether unicast or multicast
The EX4500 will allow me to reuse my gig optics from the 6509, the QFX3500 requires I purchase Juniper optics
The QFX3500 has some features that I will not use now, not sure I will use even over the next 4 to 5 years, but make the switch a bit more future proof:

    The ability to be part of Juniper QFabric
    40GB capability
    FCOe

The price of these two switches is very close
Any thoughts?

RE: EX4500 or QFX3500 at core?

It all depends on what you want really. The EX4500 and the VC support is a beautiful thing. Depending on how many edge switches you have, you can potentially use the 10gig uplinks of the 4200's and extend your VC to the edge so that you have a flat topology and can manage all of the switches as one logical device. The QFX's are really nice too, but you'll need to use VRRP for gateway redundancy which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The 40gig support is nice, but as you said, will you need it?? Is FCoE support a requirement, now or in the future??

I chose Juniper over Cisco as well for my environment and I'm currently studying for my CCIE. We established a mixed-mode VC with EX4500/4200's in our core and EX3300/2200's for our edge and it's humming along great. I've also got a mixed-mode VC of 4500's/4200's running my iSCSI network. You can't go wrong with Juniper as it is very solid gear. If you need OEM fiber modules, work with Great Lakes Computer (out of MI) as they can save you a crap load of money.

I hate all Uppercase... I don't want my groups to seem angry at me all the time! =)
- ColdFlame (vbscript forum)

RE: EX4500 or QFX3500 at core?

(OP)
This summer I have a switch, server, and storage upgrade. On the switch side two Juniper EX4500s at the core and EX4200s at the edge seems like a good solution. I have an IBM BladeCenter and will be getting 6 new blades, 3 for server virtualization (vSphere) and 3 for VDI (View). The BladeCenter will have 10GB ethernet connectivity to the core.

I have been looking at various flash/SSD array vendors including Whiptail, Violin Memory, Texas Memory Systems, and Pure Storage. All of these have Fibre Channel or Infiniband interfaces. Most of them do not include 10GB ethernet or FCoE. It appears that I can connect one of these flash arrays directly to the BladeCenter via Fibre Channel. In other words, the fibre channel abilities on the core switch do not seem that important.

My gut tells me that the higher latency and lower throughput on the EX4500 as compared to the QFX3500 will not be an issue in my environment. If I was using it for high transactional loads like a stock exchange or bank then the QFX3500 may be the way to go. Not having VC on the QFX3500 does make it a bit more difficult at the core since I need two of them for the port count. Without VC I do not think that I can bond two links from my Netapp storage or BladeCenter if the two connections go to two different QFX3500s. Is that correct?

RE: EX4500 or QFX3500 at core?

If you are settled on FC DAS for the blade center then you definitely have your answer. I guess the question will depend on how much you grow and how many nodes you can connect directly to that array. If you think you will grow substantially in the next 5 years, then perhaps architecting a full blown FC fabric may be worth it, or at least giving yourself the flexibility to go down that route when needed.

Without the full blown QFabric (nodes, interconnects, and director) I do not believe you can do any type of x-device LAG configurations.

Again, if you don't think you'll need the FCoE or 40/100gig support in the next five years go with the EX4500's.

One reason we decided to go down the road of a mixed-mode VC with EX4500's and 4200's in our core is that the 10gig interfaces are extremely precious and very expensive. If you have a core device that only does gigE then buying a gigE copper/fiber SFP+ module and and stealing the 10gig ports is almost a crime. That's where the 4200's come into play. We have gotten EX4200-48T's for about $5500 so depending on your gigE port density requirements it may make sense to look at throwing a pair into your core with a pair of the 4500's.

Good luck. I look forward to hearing how you end up so be sure to post back!

I hate all Uppercase... I don't want my groups to seem angry at me all the time! =)
- ColdFlame (vbscript forum)

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