I purchased my first HP Switch!

On Sept 12, I posted a tweet saying that I purchased my first HP Switch.  Obviously, this caused some discussion between the HP lovers, and the Cisco loyalists (okay, that’s an exaggeration).  In this post, I hope to communicate to you *why* I chose to purchase 2 HP 5406′s, even though I’m working on my CCIE and I have Juniper EX’s running around.

First, let’s talk about the current environment.  I have an office that is running a Cisco 4510E with redundant 220 power supplies and dual sup’s.  This switch is acting as both an aggregate switch as well as a collapsed backbone.  She’s a good switch.  No problems (other than both supervisors losing their configs 4 years ago) whatsoever {{knocks on wood}}.  It just runs.  So, why replace?

1).  Maintenance – Maintenance is killing me!  I work for a private company owned by an equity group.  OpEx (SG&A) is taboo, and if the powers that be could run the business without it, I’m sure they would.  Anyway, this single switch was costing me approx $10K in annual maintenance (yes, smartnet).  

2).  Future proof tech – I think we can all agree, that the 4510 won’t be moving us into the future.  I can just see it now… 6 months from now, a challenge presents itself, and I answer “We can do MPLS.  All I have to do is…….. ((sigh)) nevermind.”  

So, now that we identified why I wanted to get rid of it, let’s get back to the question, why HP?

1).  Cheaper.  -  Now, if you know me, I’m all about spending the money if I feel it’s worth it.  If there is value in it, I don’t mind spending more.  However, to me, I didn’t see the value in the Cisco name anymore.  The HP switch does everything I need it to, and it is reliable.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been running 2 5406′s in Sweden for 3 years without a failure.

2).  Maintenance – Anyone want to guess how much HP’s maintenance is?  Anyone?  $0.  Warranty covers it all.

3).  Simple – No licensing images to choose from.  One image has all the features.  I don’t have to worry about if I’m purchasing the L3-Lite or Advanced Security image.  What the datasheet says the 5400 can do, that’s what I’m getting.  (well, at least, it looks that way).

4).  Management and Familiarity – I’m already running HP iMC, which can manage the 5400′s really really well.  And, as I mentioned, I’m running 2 in another country, so I would like to get more familiar with them.

The only caveat I can put out there?  Well, I have actually received them and installed them yet.  So, maybe I will change my mind.  I doubt it, but it’s possible.  I just wanted to tell you the reasons behind the choices.  My only regret, was that I could not afford a bigger switch running Comware.  Do I need it?  Not for this case, but I would just really like to dig a little deeper under those covers. wink

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