Cisco Nexus Review

Provides rock solid stability and troubleshooting capabilities for our data center


What is our primary use case?

This solution is used as the core and access switches in our largest data center. We have several of them that make up our 40-gigabit uplink.

How has it helped my organization?

From my perspective, this is a nice solution. These units are easy to work with and they have a lot of features that you can't get anywhere else. It gives me an unparalleled ability to build out my environment differently than I would have if I was going with another vendor. This is true even if I was going with a Catalyst model instead of a Nexus model.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is its stability. We don't have any problems with them, ever. It doesn't matter how much we hammer them or load stuff up on them, they never give us any trouble. I cannot say that for many other platforms that I operate, so I am really pleased with that aspect.

The ability to troubleshoot on this model is very good, and far beyond what you get on a different model. We have had some weird issues in our data center, and this has helped us in that regard. Sometimes you need a tech to help you with it because it's a little too complex, but at least you can see the data. I wish I could say that about, pretty much, anything else I have.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see Duo directly integrated with the Nexus hardware, instead of it being through the proxies, like how Duo works today. The way it works now really irritates me.

There is a lot of depth in the Nexus class, and it would help to make this more accessible to the users. We, for instance, are using them no differently than we would a Catalyst switch with VPCs. With that in mind, some of the more in-depth features would be nice to have, so having easier access to them would be beneficial.

For how long have I used the solution?

Eighteen months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have been operating for a year and a half, and we've never had one crash. I couldn't say that for most other platforms.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had an opportunity to scale this solution, but it seems very scalable. The VPC, virtual port channels, and the virtual domains, together, allow you to scale endlessly. I have never seen any problems with them.

How are customer service and technical support?

I love Cisco Smart Net. It is the best thing in the business. I've never dealt with another vendor that comes even close to Smart Net.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

This solution was integrated before I started, but we used to have Cisco 7K and 5K models. When we built the new data center, which was necessary after our company split in two, the 9K made more sense. It was the right choice for us at that point.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup seemed pretty straightforward. These units were a little different, compared to the Nexus 5K that I came from. Some commands are a little different, but other than that, it was easy to do.

There are a lot of more complex features in the Nexus class that we aren't using today, so maybe it would have been harder if we were using some of those. But, for a basic setup, it was easy enough.

What about the implementation team?

We used a third party, Logicalis. The sold us the product and performed the basic installation. The VPCs were built, the management and IP configuration were completed before we took it over.

I felt like we paid for more than we got, but that was ok. They got the job done and we didn't have time for it. At the end of the day, I would rate them a three out of five.

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

Every Cisco product is more expensive than competitors on the market, which is just a fact, but from my perspective, it is worth it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our company is locked into one vendor for purchasing, which is a board decision. The only time we can use another vendor is if they sell it as part of a solution. Logicalis was the only vendor that had the solution we wanted, so that's who we went with.

What other advice do I have?

This solution is ACI compatible, but we did not have time to get them on ACI before we went live. As a result, they will not make it to ACI.

There is always room for improvement, but I really love this solution. These devices do not give me any headaches. I design enough solutions for our company where, if they give me headaches, they come back out. It's that simple. I don't have time to keep going back and cleaning up the solutions that I've already installed.

If you want something that that is rock solid and you don't have to worry about, then go buy yourself some Nexus 9Ks. It's that simple.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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