Friday, 20 November 2009

Cisco Catalyst Express 500 series switches review

I've been doing a new install with an nice new XServe and two of the CE 520G switches.

They've been a bit of a pain to be honest but once you know how to do things they're bargain.

First thing is change the smartport roles on every port. They default to server for some reason. So change them to desktop for desktops and other (blank) for anything like small switches, wireless APs etc. otherwise the port security will kick in and random stuff happens...

Server teaming is my biggest gripe. You need to set the ports to the server as switch ports (otherwise you can't set up the EtherChannel) and then setup the bond or team on the server but (big but) you also need to tag your VLAN 1 traffic. Given everything else in the universe has VLAN 1 as the native VLAN and is untagged this seems crazy.

I'm not a big fan of guis for things like switches, I like to see the config on a port and be able to debug everything under the sun. So I tend to try and push people to the "Classic" Cisco gear.

Once you know these gotchas though they're good bang for your buck and have Cisco's support which is the clincher.

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