Buyer's Guide
Ethernet Switches
November 2022
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Ismail Kurnaz - PeerSpot reviewer
Network and Security Consultant at Netsys Bilişm
Consultant
Offers high-throughput devices that are easy to adopt and configure
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable aspect of Arista Networks products is their ease of configuration, especially when compared to Cisco products. When we implement advanced features for data centers such as BGP EVPN and VXLAN, Arista's configuration process is similar to that of Cisco's process, but at the same time it is simply much easier, clearer, and more understandable."
  • "Something that you will often hear about Arista products is that the price is a bit too high and, like with Cisco, we sometimes have problems with our customers because of its pricing."

What is our primary use case?

At my current job we have a requirement to use only Arista switches, which I have been using for about a year now, even though I have more than 15 years of prior experience in Cisco security switches.

We are using Arista Networks products in data centers and we typically use VXLAN and BGP EVPN in our customer networks. We also use Cisco's BGP EVPN as well, but we have found that the configuration of Arista products is much easier compared to Cisco products. The Arista products are extremely stable and we hardly ever see any problems, whether with the hardware or the software.

Most of the time, we will use Arista's BGP EVPN and VXLAN features, which are very similar to Cisco's features, just simpler and easier to understand especially when throwing together advanced configurations.

We use Arista products not only because they are so stable, easy to adopt and configure, but also because they have high throughput ratings (e.g. 40 / 100 / 400 gigabits), making them very scalable. In my country, most companies that need high throughput generally prefer Arista products.

All the Arista switches we are using are on-premises and I generally interact with them through the CLI, as I prefer not to use features such as Cisco's CDP. I work solely from my tablet, such that when our customer needs work on configuration, I use my tablet to prepare and code the configuration requirements in order to test them out.

As part of my team, we have one member who works on Arista products professionally, while about four of my other colleagues are responsible for the integration of each Arista product that we use.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable aspect of Arista Networks products is their ease of configuration, especially when compared to Cisco products. When we implement advanced features for data centers such as BGP EVPN and VXLAN, Arista's configuration process is similar to that of Cisco's process, but at the same time it is simply much easier, clearer, and more understandable.

It's important to us that Arista devices have only one operating system, whereas in Cisco products, there are several different products and different features and not all of them are compatible with one another. Arista devices can be managed more easily this way, and it gives us peace-of-mind that we can quickly tell which features we have access to.

The Arista switches are also extremely stable and are capable of high throughput (up to 400 gigabits) for maximum scalability.

What needs improvement?

Something that you will often hear about Arista products is that the price is a bit too high and, like with Cisco, we sometimes have problems with our customers because of its pricing. However, price-for-price I would say that Arista may still be better than Cisco, and I would even go so far as to say that Arista products are the number one solution in the world for data center networks. It is commonly accepted that Cisco switches are the perfect product for data center environments, but I believe that Arista switches are even superior.

Almost all of our customers that use Arista products are happy to use them, with the only complaint being the price. Thus, if the price of Arista's products were the same as Cisco's product, it's possible that customers would actually prefer Cisco over Arista. 

When it comes to working with and setting up the Arista Networks Platform, things are not too difficult because the configuration is so similar to Cisco products and almost all of our network engineers have experience with Cisco. However, Arista lacks a comprehensive set of loopback commands as compared to Cisco. With Cisco devices, there are several loopback commands such as "ip bgp" which can be used to easily diagnose problems, but with Arista many of these commands are absent, making it so that troubleshooting and getting certain problems under control is more difficult in comparison with Cisco. It would be very helpful if Arista brought more loopback features to the CLI.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Arista switches for one year now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Arista products are extremely stable. We have had no issues with either the software or the hardware.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Arista devices are scalable and come in different models with varying throughput ratings (up to 400 gigabits).

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Although I have only used Arista switches for one year so far, I have over 15 years of experience with Cisco switches (especially the security type of switches).

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not difficult, mainly because almost all of our network engineers have experience with Cisco, and much of the configuration is very similar. Thus, the administration and control of the networking with Arista is easy for us.

One feature that would make the setup easier would be more loopback commands in the CLI, as Cisco currently has much more support than Arista for loopback commands. Loopback commands help us troubleshoot problems in the network, and having better functionality in this area would help.

What about the implementation team?

As my company is a partner of Arista, we have a department that takes care of the deployment and configuration of these products with various technicians. As for myself, I'm not directly responsible for integration or deployment. Instead, my primary work is in checking configurations and troubleshooting them.

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

There are several different platform arrangements for Arista devices and Cisco devices. I cannot say exactly what the prices of each arrangement are. However, I remember that when our customers were offered the Arista Networks Platform, they used a checklist to compare the prices between Arista and Cisco for their requirements, and found that the prices were almost the same. With Cisco, I know that they are generally a bit more expensive than other products such as Hauwei and Aruba.

What other advice do I have?

First of all, because the price of Arista products are so similar to those of Cisco, we often need to coordinate the opportunity to provide a proof-of-concept, usually with demo devices. Generally, we will first use the demo devices, and only then buy the devices from Arista.

Most of the time, Arista products are used in data centers and most of our customers typically need to use BGP EVPN and VXLAN. When working with a customer to decide on either Arista vs. Cisco products, we will first explain how the configuration process works with both of these solutions. At this point, the benefits of using Arista become clear to the customer, since the configuration is much easier. The fact that there is only one operating system that works across the devices (if one device supports a feature, it's likely that most of the other devices will, too) is one more reason I would recommend going for Arista.

If the price weren't so high, I would probably rate Arista the highest score, but because of this I would rate Arista Networks a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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MuhammadBilal2 - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager Networks at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Easy to use with a strong CLI but needs some advanced technology in the stack
Pros and Cons
  • "It's pretty good as compared to other vendors."
  • "We are not very pleased with their performance."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for the core environment and not in the access environment.

What is most valuable?

It's got a very strong CLI and many good features, like ACLs and all those kinds of things. We can manage with CLI and we have pretty good experience with our security.

It's pretty good as compared to other vendors.

The solution is simple to implement. 

It's easy to use. 

What needs improvement?

The product is so-so. We are not very pleased with their performance. We are having some issues in managing their stack. We would like to have some advanced technology in stacking. They need to improve their stacking technologies.

We contacted the principal as well, to open a case. We couldn't find the solution. That's why we are looking for replacing these switches with some other brand.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for more than five years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had some performance issues and found the solution not so stable. 

It's very reliable. It's very stable. However, sometimes we are having issues, like memory leakage. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have three people, including me, that work on the solution. We're administrators. 

It's scalable. However, we had some issues with stacking. That stacking cable is not properly connected with the chassis. We already informed them as well. They said plug in one cable and then your stacking will be completed. There is a bug in the stacking module, so I don't know when they will fix it. That's why we are thinking of replacing it.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support has been very good. We are fine with them.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are using different brands, including Fortinet, Cisco, and Juniper. I also have experience with HP and Aruba.

We are currently using Juniper switch EX4600, EX4300 and Fortinet switch 240 and 148, and some Fortinet 80 and FortiGate firewalls. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple and very straightforward. Compared to other switches, it is not that difficult. 

For Juniper switches, we have only three hours of downtime. In a three-hour downtime, we successfully managed to handle everything. Even managing VLANs, and tagging the VLANs and LAGs. All the things were done in three hours and we had everything configured properly.

It's moderate, not very easy, not very difficult. The terminology is sometimes different. You are following their proprietary standards, EtherChannels, and you can say security channels as well. These are not related to other switching technologies. They have some other proprietary things you need to know about in order to implement it easily.

I'd rate the overall process a three or four out of five in terms of ease of deployment. 

We don't have to deal with maintenance. That's done on the vendor side when we have any issue, for example, the code is not working, the SFP is not working or we have issues from their upgrades. If a permission is required, we'd take action accordingly. We need to have a recommendation from the principal if we are going to upgrade the software. When that happens we require some support from the vendor side.

What about the implementation team?

In our environment, we do not need support from any vendor, any principal. If we are stuck somewhere, then we will definitely contact or open a case with the principal. All the things will be managed by our engineers and ourselves.

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

I can't speak to the exact pricing. It's based on the dollar and prices are fluctuating all of the time. My understanding is that it is moderately priced for the market.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten. It's pretty good. It's stable as well, however, with some functionalities and some terminologies, the standard is the same yet the terminology is different. For the EtherChannels, they have some different names. For the tunnel, they have some different names. If people are working with a Cisco-type environment, when they are switching from Cisco to Juniper, they feel pretty the command-line interface is pretty different.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are doing a POC with different vendors to replace this solution. We are looking at Cisco, maybe HP, and maybe another brand. 

We are looking for a chassis-based modular switch that can handle ten gigs, one gig, and both the copper and SSP modules. There will be six to ten modules in it.

What other advice do I have?

I'm an end-user.

We're currently using the latest version of the solution. It's around version 20.

We're looking to replace this solution due to performance issues and we are in coordination with other principals, like H3C and other switching manufacturers. We'll soon see what they can offer us.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Senior Project Manager / Systems Engineer at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Multicast is a great feature, critical for access to video systems
Pros and Cons
  • "Multicast is a great feature of this product."
  • "Network setup is quite complicated, particularly if you're implementing in a non-technical environment."

What is our primary use case?

Our main use case of ethernet switches is for security networks for digital video, digital access control, and digital inter-communications. Most of our work is for public institutions, including hospitals and universities when they need upgrades to POE switches. We're consultants in the security industry and I'm the senior project manager/systems engineer.

What is most valuable?

One of the prime features of this product is Multicast which is critical for video systems, ensuring you don't take down the network during an event where everybody needs video access. It generally requires layer 3 switches so that we cut up VLANs and separate different aspects of the systems. 

What needs improvement?

Network setup and Multicast are critical components for us and when you're also programming for video streams it can become quite complicated. It's more of an issue when you're dealing with public institutions and there might be a lack of tech-savvy people. When it comes to the video streams, if you're sending real-time video in a security system, and you drop packets, the information is lost and you can't get it back. That's a critical aspect for us. One of the issues we have is that the guy doing the video system knows how that works, and the network people know how the network works, but they don't know how to communicate with each other. The industry is trying to adapt to sort out that problem.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for over 30 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution covers it all. I've done everything from simple 12-port switches for a small facility to a wide area network with core switches and multiple redundant communication lines and there haven't been any scalability issues. There's no one-size-fits-all in terms of maintenance required, it depends on the size of the organization. 

How are customer service and support?

On one of our recent large projects where we used core switches, I worked in-depth with technical support to help determine how to configure the switches, which hardware was required, and how to get the redundant communication paths. We don't use support much but when we do they're very helpful. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex. We've found that a lot of people don't know how to configure Multicast properly on a network, particularly in government agencies. It's one of the key components, especially when you're in the security industry, and it's a big issue for us. There's a steep learning curve in terms of properly setting up the network to manage the Multicast traffic, and then programming, especially on the IP video systems. Because they're managing video streams both systems have to be set up properly, and there seems to be a lack of knowledge around that. 

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

Our clients purchase the license so we're not involved in that aspect. Cisco doesn't like to give out information unless you're a dealer. For smaller projects, the cost is an issue and organizations will often look for less expensive options. Cisco is the major player in the network environment, but there are numerous alternative products that may be less feature-rich but fit the bill from a cost perspective. In addition to licensing, there is likely to be an annual fee to enable access to support. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We previously looked at Extreme Networks, Fortinet, Aruba and NETGEAR. When we're dealing with harsh environments, we tend to look at companies like ComNet, EtherWAN, GarrettCom, who make hardened switches for harsh or difficult environments. A lot of the main players only make switches that go in data centers and IDF rooms.

What other advice do I have?

When configured properly, the solution works. I rate this solution nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Angel Georev - PeerSpot reviewer
Product Manager at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Easy to deploy with a good user interface and helpful support
Pros and Cons
  • "Technical support is helpful and quick to respond."
  • "There's a lack of chips and, consequently, a lack of deliveries. They're out of stock at their European warehouse."

What is our primary use case?

This is a pure fiber solution. We use it for both SMBs and big organizations. We use it as a switch. 

What is most valuable?

It has the same features as many other brands. 

I like the way they work with customers.

The features are stable, and it deploys easily. It's very simple to implement in general.

The user interface is very good. 

The solution is scalable.

It is stable and reliable. 

Technical support is helpful and quick to respond. 

What needs improvement?

They currently don't have any stock. It's hard to get the devices. 

There's a lack of chips and, consequently, a lack of deliveries. They're out of stock at their European warehouse.

They also used to offer quite cheap routers, and now there is nothing under 150 euros. It's getting expensive. Many customers don't want to spend more than 60 or 70 euros on something like that. 

The scalability is limited to some extent. It's meant for smaller users. 

I'm working with home routers, and the Wi-Fi at the moment is Wi-Fi 6. With Wi-Fi 5 routers, there was a feature that was called device prioritization. This feature is missing with Wi-Fi 6 routers. I don't know why. Maybe the CPUs are not so strong or powerful, or maybe they believe that this feature is pointless since the devices are so powerful. That said, from my point of view, it is very important as a customer to have this feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been dealing with the solution for 12 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are no bugs or glitches, and it doesn't crash or freeze. It's quite stable and reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution can scale quite well. However, it doesn't scale quite as well as Huawei, which can get much larger. 

How are customer service and support?

I have found that technical support replies quickly, and they close their tickets once they've completed their tasks. They are great. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I'm also familiar with Huawei. The difference is this product is more for SMBs. The user interface is great for non-technical people, and everything works smoothly. Huawei can be more complex for some users. 

I've also used Aruba as well. 

How was the initial setup?

The solution deploys easily. It's a straightforward setup. It's not a complex endeavor, even for a home user. In the past, I had to explain to my manager who wanted to buy some Wi-Fi extenders. I showed her how to set up the device. She said, "Okay, it sounds easy. I will do this by myself." The next day, she said, "Yeah, it is several clicks, and everything works fine." It's so very simple. YOu only need one person to handle the deployment.  

What about the implementation team?

We can implement the solution for people. Some of our partners are so small they may need assistance as they are non-technical.  

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

The product is more expensive than, for example, TP-Link; however, it is cheaper than Aruba, Cisco, or Huawei. All of these are more enterprise-level switches, which is why the cost is a bit more. NETGEAR is better for smaller businesses. That said, while it is not a cheap brand, it offers good value. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I haven't really evaluated other solutions. I'm quite overloaded as it is. 

What other advice do I have?

I'd recommend the solution as it is very simple and stable. However, it is important to choose the right partner to help implement the solution. It will help everything go smoothly during implementation. 

It's also pretty plug-and-play. If you do need help, you can always reach out to NETGEAR. They are pretty responsive. 

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Andriejus Artamonovas - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Specialist at DataBank
Real User
Top 10
Has a simple and understandable user interface
Pros and Cons
  • "I value that there is a clear place to find a MAC table with HPE Ethernet Switches."
  • "The next release would benefit from adding a central management that could be deployable on premise and allow you to see the layout of topology."

What is our primary use case?

The use case of this solution depends on our client's environment. Some use HPE Ethernet Switches right out of the box, while some of them use models where the interface can only be opened by Internet Explorer.

The primary use cases would be office interconnection and industrial interconnection. The switches are best suited for our small or medium-sized clients. 

What is most valuable?

For me, as an administrator, I value that there is a clear place to find a MAC table with HPE Ethernet Switches. 

HPE Ethernet Switches are quite robust. I have not seen them damaged to the level that they are not operable anymore.

The solution has a simple and understandable user interface providing everything I need.

What needs improvement?

In the past, I have encountered configuration problems with the Spanning Tree Protocol. The switches were only handling a single loop. There were quite a few looped switches that could not handle the board blocking, creating the need to manually fight each loop. I have not had the same problems with the newer models of HPE Ethernet Switches.

HPE Ethernet Switches tend to hang from time to time, but all switches do that.

The next release would benefit from adding central management that could be deployable on-premise and allow you to see the layout of topology.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with HPE Ethernet Switches for about one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. HFE does not fail any more or less often than other switches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

HPE Ethernet Switches, especially the 1820s, are best suited to small or medium-sized organizations, however each case is model dependent. The switches we use, are used in large companies, but they are fractured into smaller layers of three subnets. 

The solution is scalable, you can add a switch when you need to, and you can reconfigure it.

How are customer service and support?

I have not had the need to contact customer service and support. Any past issues, we were able to resolve by go through some of our forums.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Since our company provides services, we work with the switches that the clients have. Most of the switches we work with are HPE's, Cisco, and UniFi.

I found that when using Aruba or UniFi, you have to search for the MAC table from CLI. This is difficult because when someone calls using a MAC, I will not get the IP address and I need to guess where the user is.

UniFi requires less intervention in configuration, requiring some tune-up support. HPE needs to be configured manually.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of HPE Ethernet Switches is straightforward. The time it takes to deploy depends on the overall network configuration, including the number of LAN, number of up links and down links for that switch.

If you only need to connect the switch to the up link and give out for a test for the end devices, it would take a maximum of thirty minutes after installing the switch to its correct place.

In a case where there is a lot of VLAN with some trunking, deployment could take a couple of hours.

I would rate the initial setup of HPE Ethernet Switches a five out of five. They require little to no maintenance and are reliable enough.

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

As a technician, I am not certain of pricing, but I believe HPE is less expensive than Aruba and UniFi and that is why certain clients have chosen them as their solution.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend to anyone looking into implementing HPE Ethernet Switches to go for it if the price makes sense for their organization.

Overall, I would rate HPE Ethernet Switches an eight out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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Buyer's Guide
Ethernet Switches
November 2022
Get our free report covering Cisco, Ubiquiti Networks, Fortinet, and other competitors of Aruba Switches. Updated: November 2022.
654,218 professionals have used our research since 2012.