Cisco Nexus Review

Good performance and is good for data centers

What is our primary use case?

For the 9300 switches, we use them specifically for IPv6 routing in this particular instance, although there are plans to deploy them in a more general variety of switch-type use cases.

How has it helped my organization?

This specific use case is fairly mundane. A Nexus switch is a nice, standard part that you could reuse elsewhere. The idea was to utilize this to fix a problem.

We have a bigger solution, which also involves Nexus switches in ACI mode. This appliance is kind of the stock gap until then.

What is most valuable?

We value the combination of performance and experience with Legacy Cisco switching products, including Nexus.

What needs improvement?

In terms of the context of this deployment, Cisco Nexus did everything it needed to do. 

I'd like to see this be wrapped into ACI. I'll be more comfortable when it's had more deployments. There's more knowledge out there on how to configure it.

The Cisco Nexus is a big change. I'm not currently looking for new features. I am looking to other customers with good experiences deploying in ACI mode.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Of these devices, in particular, the stability is good. Although with the Nexus line generally, we've had a couple of bad experiences recently. 

I have a general concern that Cisco Nexus may be declining. There's a couple of really bad incidents lately. Probably luck of the draw.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution is well beyond anything I would ever need. Somewhere in the neighborhood of maybe 50,000 to 60,000 nodes is our requirement, so not huge from the Cisco perspective.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support with Cisco is sometimes awesome and sometimes terrible. Not all TAC engineers have the same kind of attitude and availability to help solve the problem. 

Unfortunately, I find a necessary skill for Cisco engineers working with Cisco equipment is to know how to handle TAC. If you know how to handle them and you're willing to step up yourself by ensuring that you escalate properly, you can get a good response at TAC.

But if you allow the reverse to happen, you will usually get a bad experience.

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

Management is in the habit of buying Cisco. I like the product. I don't dissuade them from that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup with the Nexus switch is somewhere in the middle. I hate to call a Nexus switch simple, but at the same time, it's got a lot of platform legacy. You can reapply your knowledge from what you've done before. 

I don't call it complex. I don't call it simple either. Somewhere in the middle.

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

The license for Cisco Nexus is one year to three years, in this case for the SMARTnet. It is a price per unit, in terms of this specific appliance. That's something I could see Cisco doing a better job with, i.e. managing SMARTnet contracts for customers.

Too much of the onus is on the customer to manage their SMARTnet contracts. They always do a bad job at that. It's a miss for the customers because they don't have the protection that they need. It's a miss for Cisco because they don't have the revenue. 

Cisco needs to rely more on its distributors to take on that role, but I don't think they always do.

What other advice do I have?

Start with a business problem that needs solving and a recognition that the current solutions don't meet the needs. Most of our clients are using a solution similar to Nexus already. Generally, amongst my customer base, it's mostly Catalyst and Nexus.

On a scale of one to 10, I would rate this product an eight to nine. Part of that is my recent experience with Nexus overall. My gut instinct is it's probably lower than it was a couple of months back.

Look at Nexus, but also take a look at Catalyst, depending on what it is specifically being used for. Catalyst is probably an easier device, but Nexus at least should be better for a data center. Look at both.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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