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Nexus 7010 Competitors

I have an increasing need for 10Gig connectivity. Although I may have enough ports today, I have to plan for the future. While I can easily buy some more Nexus 5000 series switches, I would rather have a more capable platform. As a heavy user of Cisco hardware, the logical choice was to use the Nexus 7000 series line. It is a platform that I can grow into over time. I don’t need the big 7018, so the 7010 will suffice. My company has a great relationship with Cisco and our sales rep and local engineer are top notch. No hard selling on their part so the relationship is, in my opinion, a very good one.

Having said that, I also have to point out that I have an obligation to my company to ensure the best product is selected. It would be irresponsible of me to make a technical decision of six digit magnitude and have it come up short in features. I need to make sure the product we select is the best fit for our particular needs. That doesn’t mean the Nexus 7010 is the wrong device. For all I know it will be the best thing for us. Of course, I still have to do my due diligence.

Over the past several weeks, I have been looking over some of the competition. Granted, I still have to spend a lot more time looking at Nexus 7010 competitors, so I am nowhere near done. I’ve been really busy with other things, so I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as I thought I would to figuring this out. What I have done so far is narrow down a list of vendors and the appropriate product that can compete with the Nexus 7010. Here’s a short list of the features I am looking to compare:

1. 10Gig port count across the entire chassis.
2. 10Gig port/blade/module oversubscription rates. (Some products may not have this issue.)
3. Size of chassis.
4. Power consumption.
5. Layer 2 features(STP, TRILL, proprietary)
6. Layer 3 features(Standard based protocols, proprietary protocols)
7. Cost(Not the main driver, but it is a factor to consider after the technical merits.)
8. Product age(Is it a new platform, or has it been around for more than a year or two?)
9. Focus of the company
10. Size of the company
11. Support structure of the company
12. Code updates(Is there a defined release cycle?)
13. Availability of documentation from the vendor.
14. Connectivity options other than 10Gig(1Gig copper ports or some type of TOR integration aka Nexus 2000’s?)

Obviously there are going to be other things to consider. I also was very vague on the L2 and L3 feature requirements. That was on purpose. As I go through this process, I will be able to elaborate more on the particular L2/3 features that are needed vs those that are available.

Here’s the models I am comparing:

Cisco Nexus 7010
Brocade NetIron MLX 16
Juniper EX8216
Force10 E1200
Arista 7500
HP S12508 – This was recently changed from the S9512E as it was recommended by someone from HP that it was a better comparison to the Nexus 7010.

It is pretty hard if not downright impossible to find competing platforms that have exactly the same specs. I tried to find the closest match in terms of 10Gig port capability since that is the main driver behind this project.

More posts to come soon on this. I am still trying to decide if I want to do a post on each platform individually or do a few posts focusing on certain features that they all have in common. Any thoughts on this are appreciated.

  1. October 8, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    I’m really kinda hoping for a matrix…one platform on a row, each column being a feature. Then check the box or fill in a value. Then devote individual posts for the hardware you really fall in love with?

    • October 8, 2010 at 4:50 PM

      You read my mind. I have a little Excel spreadsheet going with somewhat granular details like airflow direction. Maybe I will dial it down a bit before publishing. On some things, there is only one vendor that supports it, so I am not sure how to handle that. So far, I am intrigued by Arista. Maybe it is the fact that I have listened to all the PP podcasts where Doug talks about Arista and all the non-conventional ways they are building their products. Of course, they all have their strengths. HP and Force10 are the only ones I haven’t really found anything yet that makes me jump and say “WOW!”. Juniper, Cisco, Brocade, and Arista have all given me the “WOW!” moments so far.

  2. October 11, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    While the HP A9512 could be equivalent to Nexus 7010, we actually would compare the A12508. Power drawer is much more effective, plus IPv6 throughput is twice as good. With IRF you get virtual switch chassis across two chassis and early 2011 you will have it across four. worth a look.. CIO of MIT got a pair of S12518, and said “twice as powerful, uses half the power and costs half as much .. compared to the competirion”

    • October 12, 2010 at 2:46 PM


      Thanks for the info! I picked the comparison models mainly based on 10Gig port density since that is my main driver for using the Nexus 7010. I’ll swap out the models on my spreadsheet and use the A12508 instead.

  1. October 15, 2010 at 4:51 PM
  2. March 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM

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