Cisco to HP Procurve

Discussion in 'Cisco' started by edavid3001, May 16, 2006.

  1. edavid3001

    edavid3001 Guest

    We are a Cisco shop. We have a 6509 which has total redundancy yet has
    failed twice in 5 years. We have Cisco routers and switches at
    multiple locations all of North America.

    We are considering HP Procurve for our LAN infrastructure. This would
    replace 6509, 2950, 1900, and other simular model switches. This is
    because on paper the HP outperforms the Cisco at a much smaller cost.
    Maybe not all of the feature are there, but everything we need.

    Anyone else go this path? All I see from searching is people asking
    about it, but never following up with the experience they had. What
    were your results? Would you do it again?

    Thanks for any feedback;

    edavid3001, May 16, 2006
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  2. The HP procurves are garbage, zero support from HP and little to no
    usefull features.
    the_jonesboys_posse, May 16, 2006
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  3. edavid3001


    May 16, 2006
    Likes Received:
    We went down that road. We used HP stuff for a couple of years. We have recently returned to Cisco gear for a couple of reasons.

    1. I can find support material anywhere for Cisco gear.
    2. Interop with wireless systems
    3. Confidence in the product to conform to and in most cases set industry standards.
    4. The HP just does not have the feature set needed to meet our requirements
    5. HP's performace was not that great in real world production
    Linuxian, May 16, 2006
  4. Be very careful if you mix these boxes! Interoparabilty is _not_ garanteed.
    We had big problems with spanning-tree for hp doesn't know about pvst.
    So we stayed with Cisco.


    Lothar Hofmann

    Lothar Hofmann Mail:
    Universitaet Siegen
    Hoelderlinstr. 3 Phone: +49 271 740 4760
    D - 57068 Siegen Fax: +49 271 740 2523
    Lothar Hofmann, May 17, 2006
  5. edavid3001

    opsvlc Guest

    sorry, but thats not true.

    I've got more than 30 HP Procurve switches; and got tickets with HP.
    Got support and resolution; zero problems. About features; you told no
    usefull features; could you tell me an unuseful feature you find on the
    hp procurve; i cant find such special features...
    opsvlc, May 17, 2006
  6. edavid3001

    opsvlc Guest

    I've got some catalyst in my network and you're right...some problems
    linking them..but nothing without a solution.

    You must be careful with spanning tree; but if you keep with latest
    firmwares with cisco support you wont have any kind of problems.

    Saw another problem with procurve and catalyst; sometime i got
    negotiation errors linking switches configured with
    autonegotiation...just forced 100Full and the problem go away.

    hope this helps. :)
    opsvlc, May 17, 2006
  7. edavid3001

    Martin Latos Guest

    If you don't mix catalyst and procurve there should be no problems

    I'm maintaining a net with HP switches and cisco routers/pixes, and had
    no problems.

    AFAIK HP is better for most users, who need just basic config +
    switching (catalyst are said to have some interesting features with new

    Martin Latos, May 17, 2006
  8. edavid3001

    edavid3001 Guest

    We do have spanning tree. We don't have the latest firmware. So must
    we remove all STP from our network, or just not use STP links to the HP

    We have seen problems with HP servers negotiating 100/FULL but the
    Cisco Switches 100/HALF when we use the HP Insight agents (not with the
    Microsoft drivers) so we force the HP servers to 100/FULL on both ends.
    Is it the same problem with the switches?
    edavid3001, May 17, 2006
  9. edavid3001

    XaBi Guest

    well, if you keep this firmware you wont have any kind of problem with
    STP. When you plan the upgrade of the firmware you will see a warning
    on the HP site regarding the STP.

    about the auto negotiation issue; i've got problems by connecting to
    catalyst switches and to Allot net enforcers (similar to packeteers).
    But the solution was the same you used; forcing 100Full link.

    Note; sorry before posted with another gmail account
    XaBi, May 17, 2006
  10. edavid3001

    BG Guest

    My experience with HP is on the 4000 and 4100 serires switches. They run
    OK on the edge, but I would never put them any further in then that. I can
    confirm that the support for these products pretty much sucks. I dont even
    believe it is 24/7. perhaps they have engineers that support the high end
    gear that can do more then RMA a device. I believe that one of the most
    important factors in the decision of your core should be the support that
    you receive in addtion to the reliablity of the gear itself. Perhaps you
    should investigate your design as well as the gear you are using.

    BG, May 17, 2006
  11. edavid3001

    thrill5 Guest

    Does your two failures in five years with full redundancy mean you had two
    failures and the redundancy worked, or you had two failures because the
    redundancy didn't work? If your redundancy didn't work than that means your
    design has flaws in it, and replacing the equipment with HP (or any other
    manufacturer) won't fix the problem.

    I engineered a system using HP Procurves for an ISP who put a system in an
    apartment complex and everything work very well. I went with HP because the
    customer couldn't stomach the cost for Cisco because he did not see why he
    needed to spend a bunch more money for "all the extra features" he didn't
    need. Everything worked very well and HP was great at replacing the
    switches when they died on a regular basis. Support was good, but the
    depth was not what he was used to in dealing with Cisco. Later on, some of
    the new features that he want to implement, and doing some advanced
    troubleshooting weren't possible because the features he needed to do them
    were not available. All in all, the customer was happy because he knew he
    got what he paid for.

    On another note, HP uses Cisco (CGESM) and Nortel (GbE2) switches for their
    BladeSystem. They do not make a ProCurve based switch for use in the
    BladeSystem and that should tell you something.

    thrill5, May 18, 2006
  12. edavid3001

    edavid3001 Guest

    One failure was when a supervisory card ($12,000 US) failed after
    plugging in a module - and the second redundant one (another $12,000)
    did not take over supervisory role. The switch failed the bus.
    Console worked, but no switching. Required a reboot.

    Another failure was a blade that failed bringing down the entire
    switch. We had multiple blades. One blade failing should have only
    failed that blade.

    We had other failures, such as a power supply failure, but I haven't
    counted those as the redundant power supply kept us online and we
    replaced the failed supply with another with no downtime. Other
    simular issues without downtime have occured.

    The Cisco offers a lot of features we don't use. We don't do VLan
    routing. We have just one secondary Vlan. no QoS on the backbone
    as we are way under subscribed. (QoS done at the edge) We use it
    mainly as a central switch for our computer room where everything ties
    together. Departmental switches pluging into this large central switch
    with no more than 3 switch hops between nodes on the LAN.

    I don't like comment that HP switches die on a regular basis. What
    does that mean? We are a 24/7 shop. I don't want to come in on
    Christmas at 2am because of a switch failure. The Cisco's rarely fail.
    We are hoping to have less downtime with the HP backbone switch, and
    then later departmental switches.
    edavid3001, May 18, 2006
  13. edavid3001

    stephen Guest

    i think that the problem is partly cisco and partly the assumption that "1
    switch" can even approach full resilience.

    the nearest you can get to full resilience is 2 parallel central switches.
    ie - 2 chassis in different parts of the building, different power supplies,
    separate cable runs.

    no way would your "full resilient" switch keep going under some of the more
    severe kinds of fault i have seen over the years:
    mad painter with wirecutters
    6 feet of water in a computer room in a basement
    cracked backplane
    power fault which put 2 phases across all PSUs in a comms room (440v here in
    bomb threat emptied the building and the fire brigade turned off the power

    some of these are so bad you really need 2 sites to "fix" the issue - but
    you get the point.

    even here the design gets more complex and you now are susceptible to some
    system failures such as routing stability due to all the resilient paths.

    the other issue is what dual Sups and all the complex in box resilience is
    doing - what happens is that the comtrol software becomes much more complex
    and has to deal with lots of rare kinds of problem - that is possible, but
    the complexity means that it is difficult to do, and even more difficult to
    test - so bugs are likely.

    FWIW i am happy to install dual power, i will distribute core connections
    across different blades to allow the switch potentially to carry on with a
    blade failure.

    AFAICT dual Sups and similar complexity dont seem to actually improve
    availability in practice. they may help with some high availability stuff
    such as in service software upgrades - but that sounds even more risky......
    ask the vendor for both calculated and measured MTBFs - and get them to
    explain how the figures are arrived and whether they exclude some sources
    (e.g. those counted by 3rd party maintainers).

    this at least gives you some numbers to do a comparison on what you can
    stephen, May 18, 2006
  14. edavid3001

    Jez T Guest

    Depends what you pay for. If you pay for a 24/7 support contract with HP, it
    can be very good indeed - depending on where you are in the world. Cutting
    down on support is one of the ways that HP lowers costs.
    Jez T, May 20, 2006
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