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Buyer's Guide
LAN Switching
September 2022
Get our free report covering Cisco, Cisco, Dell Technologies, and other competitors of Arista Campus LAN Switches. Updated: September 2022.
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Read reviews of Arista Campus LAN Switches alternatives and competitors

Syed Ali Wajahat - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Solution Architect at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
Reliable, easy to set up, and has good throughput, but lacks SD-WAN support, and its knowledge base and technical support need improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature of Dell PowerConnect Switches for me is the throughput. I also like that the product has more compatibility with Dell infrastructure, especially with EMC and new generation Dell servers. Dell PowerConnect Switches can also easily integrate with Dell servers, and this is another pro."
  • "What's lacking in Dell PowerConnect Switches is SD-WAN integration, and this is what needs to be improved in it. All enterprises now move towards SD-WAN infrastructure, and because Dell PowerConnect Switches don't currently support SD-WAN, the product would be replaced, considered a secondary switch, or linked up to a different switch. Integration or support for SD-WAN is what I'd like to see in the next version of Dell PowerConnect Switches."

What is our primary use case?

My main use case for Dell PowerConnect Switches is as a data center switch, but only for specific servers.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of Dell PowerConnect Switches for me is the throughput. I also like that the product has more compatibility with Dell infrastructure, especially with EMC and new generation Dell servers. Dell PowerConnect Switches can also easily integrate with Dell servers, and this is another pro.

What needs improvement?

What's lacking in Dell PowerConnect Switches is SD-WAN integration, and this is what needs to be improved in it.

All enterprises now move towards SD-WAN infrastructure, and because Dell PowerConnect Switches don't currently support SD-WAN, the product would be replaced, considered a secondary switch, or linked up to a different switch. Integration or support for SD-WAN is what I'd like to see in the next version of Dell PowerConnect Switches.

For how long have I used the solution?

My experience with Dell PowerConnect Switches is three to four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Dell PowerConnect Switches is a product that's quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I find Dell PowerConnect Switches scalable.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support for Dell PowerConnect Switches isn't comparable with Cisco, Dell, and other major vendors. Dell support is improving, and it's good, not bad, but it's not comparable to Cisco support as the Cisco team is more knowledgeable and Cisco has a knowledgebase that's more easily available and reachable online. While in general, Dell products and systems has a knowledgebase that's still lacking.

If I were to rate the support for Dell PowerConnect Switches, I'd give a rating of two out of five.

How was the initial setup?

Setting up Dell PowerConnect Switches is quite easy. On a scale of one to five, with one being difficult and five being easy, my rating for the initial setup of the product is four.

What was our ROI?

If you buy Dell PowerConnect Switches as a bundle with computers and the rest of the infrastructure, it's a good setup and you'll get value from your investment or ROI from the product.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing for Dell PowerConnect Switches is quite competitive compared to Cisco and HP pricing. Dell has cheaper pricing and the company is trying to push for sales for its switching infrastructure because right now, the current market is dominated by Cisco.

In the US market, there's Cisco, HP, Juniper, and Arista which you can buy for data center switching meant for different kinds of enterprises and ISPs. Dell PowerConnect Switches, on the other hand, is a product for people who need smaller setups or individual switches, especially those looking for a cheaper product and basic switching, though you can also buy a complete suite packaged with the switches.

I have one customer that has a VxRail setup, a computer, an LDN platform, then Dell PowerConnect Switches. That customer has a complete rack, for example, four racks, and on top of the racks are Cisco switches, with the Dell switches linked up to the Cisco switches, rather than integrating the full environment with Dell. There's only a partial setup for the Dell PowerConnect Switches, then the rest of the environment has Cisco switches set up.

Many customers focus on Cisco or Arista gear, but smaller organizations or anybody looking for a smaller setup would find Dell competitive, easy to pitch, and easy to sell.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated Cisco, HP, and Arista products.

In comparison, Dell PowerConnect Switches provide normal switching or just the basic switching and routing protocols required for DC or campus area network infrastructure, while Cisco and HP have industry-standard and advanced protocols such as EVPN, IRS, clustering, VPC, virtual channels, etc., which are missing in Dell PowerConnect Switches. Even Arista has a good switching infrastructure for data centers.

Dell PowerConnect Switches is quite simple to operate, but if you compare it with Cisco, Arista, or HP, the switching infrastructure of Dell is inferior, and the main challenge is that it's missing industry-standard or advanced switching protocols.

The reason many people still buy Dell PowerConnect Switches, particularly the big organizations, is because of the Dell infrastructure. For example, if you buy the Dell rack solution "VxRail", then you have NSX and a complete Dell suite with storage, you'll want to have  Dell PowerConnect Switches, so mostly, the switches from Dell work perfectly because they're part of a bundle of Dell products.

What other advice do I have?

I've been working with Dell PowerConnect Switches.

I would 100% recommend Dell PowerConnect Switches if you have a Dell environment and Dell infrastructure for more compatibility.

I'm rating Dell PowerConnect Switches seven out of ten. The product is fine in terms of reliability. It's just that its knowledge base is lacking and its technology also needs improvement versus other solutions in the market, so many people don't consider Dell PowerConnect Switches as primary switches.

I'm an integrator of Dell PowerConnect Switches.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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Al Vasek - PeerSpot reviewer
Executive Business Development Manager, Cloud and Managed Services at ConvergeOne
MSP
Top 5Leaderboard
Performs well, but the support and stability could be improved
Pros and Cons
  • "Port density and port speed performance are both suitable. It has some appealing intangibles."
  • "Instead of competing at the enterprise level with that product, they should probably scale it. With all of the ports, they should develop a good mid-level business to truly scale it and gain adoption before attempting to go after the enterprise."

What is most valuable?

Port density and port speed performance are both suitable. It has some appealing intangibles.

We are not comparing it with Linksys, D-Link, or similar products. The engineering behind it isn't bad, it's just that you're limited. I'm not going to sell something to a customer where it's difficult for me to find staff who can program it or train on it. It's a bigger risk than it's worth.

What needs improvement?

There is a lack of support because there is a lack of adoption.

Because Cisco switches are so widely used, anyone in the world can support them. It was two Cisco engineers who released Arista's code. In terms of programming functionality, they essentially duplicated the Cisco iOS, so all Cisco commands work on the Arista commands. You can do an Arista if you can do a Cisco. Aruba isn't all that different. It's a little different, but they have all of HPE's money and stuff behind it and things like that.

I would say the same thing about Extreme or some of the other switches where it's penny-wise, pound-foolish. You save some money if you are a small shop with only one or two guys, it's understandable. Fortinet is now in the switch business, and they have their FortiSwitch devices, which are controlled by the FortiGate firewalls to do all of the programs. There is a lot to choose from. But, in my opinion, a lot of it is dependent on the use case and the customer type. Meraki is a nice little Cisco product for the right kind of business, but I wouldn't use it in an enterprise setting.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have worked with Dell-Force10 Campus LAN Switches in the past, but I am not a huge fan.

It's just like any other switch. Right now, you must consider market share. By far, Cisco has the market share, in my opinion. From a switching standpoint, there are the Arubas and the Aristas. When Dell acquired Force10, they attempted to acquire it, and It does some things, but it hasn't taken off yet. It doesn't have a large enough market share. I wouldn't invest in something that doesn't have a large enough market share to support it. I've met Michael Dell personally, and if they are one, two, or three, they will drop it. It's similar to when they removed SonicWall and other features. To me, there is far too much risk versus reward. Arista would be my first choice if I needed a lower-cost switch than Cisco.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have had it and seen it in a number of data centers. It is not a bad product. It's stable, runs smoothly, and performs well until it doesn't, and then you are stuck. Then you have to wait for someone to become available who knows how to program it, whereas the other ten guys are all Cisco experts. You are in a situation where you can save $5,000, but now you have to reimburse 10 customers for SLA breaches that you had because we can't fix them. This is the dilemma with the product that we are dealing with.

I would have said more about it if it had taken off more and been adopted more widely. Their basic PowerConnect switches are fine for small businesses because there isn't much to worry about, but that's an enterprise-grade switch.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You are selling it to larger customers and in larger environments, where it's a less expensive model than Cisco, which is attempting to use the same approach Arista did, but with a completely different programming language.

What other advice do I have?

I would not recommend it to smaller businesses because they could not afford it.

I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they come up with a small business model for it, which would be interesting to me. Instead of competing at the enterprise level with that product, they should probably scale it. With all of the ports, they should develop a good mid-level business to truly scale it and gain adoption before attempting to go after the enterprise.

It's too difficult to break into the enterprise, which is already heavily invested in those other ones. I mean, Arista did it, but they've recently gained traction. Fortinet is gaining traction, but, as previously stated, it began by establishing credibility in the commercial, mid-market, and enterprise markets. Whereas Dell-Force10 Campus LAN Switches have never attempted anything other than enterprise.

I would rate Dell-Force10 Campus LAN Switches a five out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Buyer's Guide
LAN Switching
September 2022
Get our free report covering Cisco, Cisco, Dell Technologies, and other competitors of Arista Campus LAN Switches. Updated: September 2022.
633,184 professionals have used our research since 2012.