After I get an interesting if it is not weird question about switch selection from someone couple days ago I decided to share my ideas about this specific and actually important topic.
Question was exactly like this; ‘ Which one I should buy 24 port or 48 port switch ‘. What would you give as an answer to this question please let me know in the comment below.
I would be giving as a designer our classical answer which is it depends or whichever you liked, you should buy it , but also as a gentleman my answer was; think about your scaling. Of course many question should be asked for selecting most appropriate switch.
- Where will it be positioned? Will it be in the data center or campus ? At which tier will it be used ( two, three, maybe one ? ). Access, distribution, core ?
For this specific case since the question was 24 port or 48 port, we can think that it will be positioned at access layer and in the campus. It can be also at the data center as well maybe as TOR(Top of rack) switch or at the internet edge for ADC connection so on but let’s continue to ask questions based on these assumptions. It is for access layer and it will be positioned in the campus.
- Do you need Power over Ethernet for phones, access points etc ?
- Do you need layer 3 support ?. How is your access layer design, do you have layer 3 access or layer 2 ?
- What is the scaling requirements ? If you will only use 5 ports and you don’t expect exponential growth within 3 to 5 years you may not need 48 ports.It can be very small company or maybe branch site of the company.
- Do you need IPv6 support ? If yes will it be in the hardware ?
- Does it support link aggregation protocols? If yes, does it support tuned LACP or fast Pagp?.(They can be important to support some split brain scenario at the distribution layer) ?
- Would you consider unified access switch, so you can terminate your capwap tunnel directly on the switch ?
- Would it support IGMP snooping if your network multicast enable?
- Would you consider stack able switch for centralize control and management plane like Cisco VSS, HP IRF etc.?
- What about speed ? I assume 1 Gbps is the new 100 Mbps.
- Then what about uplink port for that standalone switch or if it is in the stack, stack uplink ?
- Which first hop security feature is supported ?
- What is the QoS granularity of the switch ? How many queue, how many of them priority queue ?
- This might be thought some one exaggerated but what about Openflow support ?
- What about management protocol support ? Snmpv2, snmpv3, syslog, netflow, sflow, nbar so on?
- If you have already have access switches in your network which mean it is brownfield environment, would you consider to bring new vendor into the shop ? What about interoperability?
- Cost of the switch may not be technical requirement but definitely might be as business requirement, so if all the features are supported by the vendor , is it cheap ?
Since the edges are the brain of our network, intelligence is at the edges.Access layer switch selection is important decision, your network design directly affect your selection, also your device selection affects your network design. Always business requirements should be considered first. Above questions at least should be asked while selecting an access layer switches.
These are the important questions just now I thought. I believe many more can be added for specific cases and I would like to see your thoughts in the comment.