Cisco Enterprise Ethernet Switch Buyer's Guide - Page 3

Networking leader Cisco says two key trends to watch are increasing demand for video and the consumerization of IT, and its Ethernet switch product line reflects that belief.

By Drew Robb | Posted Mar 16, 2011
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"Go for the Catalyst 3750-X if you have a fixed switching preference and the Catalyst 4500E for if you prefer modularity," said Conover.

The Catalyst 2960-S can be used in standalone or stackable configuration (up to 4 switches with optional stacking module). Note, though, that they are best suited to branch office or modest sized wiring closets of up to 192 access ports. Similarly, the Catalyst 3750-X switches are stackable (up to nine switches) and are good for branch offices or enterprise wiring closets. In addition, The Catalyst 3560-X is a 24- or 48-port standalone version of the 3750-X and geared to small branch offices.

When deploying Catalyst 2960-S, 3560-X, or 3750-X switches, Conover advises users to take advantage of Cisco Smart Install capabilities. This technology configures the Cisco IOS Software image and switch configuration without user intervention. It utilizes dynamic IP address allocation and a preconfigured director switch to facilitate installation. All switches mentioned feature Auto Smart Ports to provide automatic configuration as devices connect to the switch port, allowing auto detection of the device onto the network.

"Smart Port macros take advantage of Cisco's best practices for implementing QoS and network security," said Conover.

Another best practice for implementation is to enable EnergyWise for enterprise-wide energy management. This is a way to communicate messages that measure and control energy between network devices and endpoints. The network discovers Cisco EnergyWise manageable devices, monitors their power consumption and takes action based on business rules to reduce power consumption.

When it comes to the core of the network, though, reliability and performance are king. Hundreds or thousands of workstations can flow into and through the network core. Therefore, it is critical that it deliver no-compromise performance and reliability. Catalyst 6500 switches are put together with that in mind.

In the distribution and core, Cisco recommends following a validated design approach, which ensures you get the most from the high availability and reliability features. The company's website has more information about Cisco best practices for the campus.

"Most mid- to large companies upgrade every 3 to 5 years," said Conover. "When they do, they typically consider today's needs versus anticipated needs, scalability, features and budget guidelines."

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