Choosing the Right Chassis Network Switch

Hi everyone,

I’m currently researching chassis network switches for our data center upgrade, and I’m seeking advice on selecting the right model. We’re looking to scale our network infrastructure to accommodate increasing traffic and future growth.

Specifically, I’m interested in:

  1. Performance and Scalability: Which chassis switches have you found to offer the best performance and scalability for high-traffic environments?
  2. Reliability and Redundancy: How do different chassis switches handle redundancy and failover? Any recommendations for models that excel in this area?
  3. Management and Features: What management tools and features do you consider essential for effective network administration? Are there specific chassis switch brands that stand out in terms of user-friendly interfaces and comprehensive feature sets?
  4. Cost-effectiveness: While quality is crucial, budget considerations are also important. Are there chassis switches that strike a good balance between cost-effectiveness and performance?

Any insights, experiences, or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help!

1. Performance and Scalability: Which chassis switches have you found to offer the best performance and scalability for high-traffic environments?
Any of the big name brand somewhat modern switches are going to be fine at this. I personally prefer juniper (or Aruba as secondary), but any of the switches made in the last 5-10 years that have the switch speed you want are going to be fine. Also, consider if you want a single unit large switch, or if you want a virtual chassis joining multiple smaller switches.

2. Reliability and Redundancy: How do different chassis switches handle redundancy and failover? Any recommendations for models that excel in this area?
I can’t speak for Cisco because I don’t use them, but almost all of them have virtual chassis modes or protocols designed specifically for this. In Juniper if you set up a virtual fabric, it handles 90% of this for you. Generally speaking a single routing card/interface card/etc can fail and the others will stay alive just fine. It is your responsibility to configure LAG/multiple paths from servers/end devices though.

3. Management and Features: What management tools and features do you consider essential for effective network administration? Are there specific chassis switch brands that stand out in terms of user-friendly interfaces and comprehensive feature sets?
I’m not going to comment on this because I’m sure I’ll sound rude…

4. Cost-effectiveness: While quality is crucial, budget considerations are also important. Are there chassis switches that strike a good balance between cost-effectiveness and performance?
I would not recommend buying new unless you actually need it. Switches from a few years ago are still in prime shape, and tend to be wayyyy cheaper but still supported and nowhere near EoL. If you need a switch with enough routing/switching power that you must buy new… This forum is probably not the place to get help.

As a side note, When asking these kinds of questions you might want to consider including information like:

  • What levels of traffic/ speeds are you actually reasonably going to see
  • What kind of scalability /future proofing is actually needed (does buying a switch that will attempt to last you the next 20 years makes sense, or does it make more sense to do a smaller scale, cheaper switch and then upgrade in 5 years or whenever you start reaching its limits again?)
  • are you looking at doing full layer switching? What features/protocols/etc do you need?
  • What does the rest of your networking stack look like? Although not necessary… Sometimes it makes more sense to stick with the same vendor across the switch network, routers, firewalls, etc.

Somewhat shameless plug, if you are on Discord you might have better/more luck joining an Infra/SRE guild for questions like this too (mostly just because of more people that work in the industry and are always online) https://www.dsicommunity.org/