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Introducing other switches into Cisco network

Introducing other switches into Cisco network

Introducing other switches into Cisco network

(OP)
I am trying to evaluate the pros and cons of introducing cheaper switches into a Cisco switch network. From my research so far, I've seen that other other vendors can handle Cisco IOS software but are there any downsides that anyone knows about?

RE: Introducing other switches into Cisco network

hmm, that is interesting, Ive never heard of other vendors that handle Cisco IOS software.  Could you paste us a link to such a thing?

I think when it comes to switches, it wont make that big of a difference.   Switches arent complicated enough to merit a cisco only network, that is of course unless you get into the higher end switches with routing and such, then I would stick with cisco.

We use all Cisco in our network, but we have a very large customer who has over 100 switches, and they use linksys.  They havent had any problems with them whatsoever.

RE: Introducing other switches into Cisco network

(OP)
Below is the snippet that I read about IOS software. Is there personally any reason why you stick solely with Cisco?

Cisco IOS Software: The Future
The strategy for the Cisco IOS software is to continue to provide technologies and solutions based on customer needs. Cisco IOS software will continue to drive industry standards as well as expand to all strategic internetworking platforms.
A growing number of leading network and computer vendors are integrating Cisco IOS software capabilities into a range of internetworking platforms, such as servers, hubs, WAN switches, remote access devices, multiplexers, and PBXs. The goal of this strategy is to ensure users receive industry-leading technologies and high-quality networking software. Cisco IOS technology licensing delivers these services in the form users require, whether or not Cisco manufactures the hardware. Companies leveraging the Cisco IOS software technology in LAN-based products include: Bay Networks, Chipcom (3Com), Cabletron, Digital Equipment Corp., LanOptics, Lannet, and Optical Data Systems. Companies leveraging the Cisco IOS software technology in WAN-based products include; Alcatel, Ericsson, GTE Government Systems, Northern Telecom, and US Robotics.
Other companies have Cisco IOS software-based products in development, including Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, NEC, and Ungermann-Bass. It's all part of Cisco's drive toward multivendor, multiplatform network interoperability. Customers can now choose from many different vendors and platforms and still be assured they are receiving all of the benefits that the Cisco IOS software provides.

RE: Introducing other switches into Cisco network

(OP)
I've done some evaluating since and discovered the HP procurve switch uses cdp (cisco discovery protocol). The main problem before was that this protocol couldn't detect non-cisco switches. Also the HP interface looks very similar to cisco's

RE: Introducing other switches into Cisco network

It is not a matter of integrating Cisco IOS software features into another vendors switches, it is more an issue relating to proprietary methods and protocols.

cdp is an example of such a protocol. It is supported by almost all Cisco equipment but it is not necessary to have all the switches on your network support it. HP are no doubt licensing the code for cdp so the Procurves support it.

The key is to avoid as far as possible all proprietary protocols and methods. This is anaethema to most cisco indoctrinated network engineers but imho very sensible.

There are a key set of protocols to consider.

Spanning Tree and rapid spanning tree especially taking into account stp per vlan or per switch as this will inevitably affect the design and choice of switches.

Link aggregation protocol as opposed to fast etherchannel etc.

autonegotiation. If they follow the IEEE std and adopt nway this should not be an issue and cisco to my knowledge do.

802.1q tagging
IGMP
PIM
DVMRP
DSCP and COS

etc.

To successfully integrate non-cisco switches into a cisco switched network will require no mismatch between the implementation of these standards and the reduction in use of proprietary switching except between switches of the same vendor.

I have seen switches from Cisco interoperate with 3Com, Fore and Nortel switches with few if any issues.

When it comes to routing at Layer 3 you can have even more fun so just stick to layer 2 and all should be fine.

I personally think Cisco switches are overrated and overpriced, since switches are so cheap now why buy a Cisco switch at higher cost and no practical increase in functionality.

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