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Jim  DeFilippis
CGO at TMS Consulting Inc
Real User
Top 10
Easy to manage and configure with the capability to scale

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable aspect of the solution is the ability to manage the switches and the ability to have a certain level of familiarity with setting up and configuring the switches."
  • "One thing we did have to work around is, on the broadcast side, we're reliant on the PTP protocol, precision time protocol, and the Cisco switches in general, don't support that."

What is our primary use case?

We're primarily using the solution for Jim basically the whole IT infrastructure, including the broadcast facility on the management side. It uses Cisco switches, which we spread out with the 9500 Series as sort of the main switches. We also use 93180s to create the backbone or spine of our setup.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable aspect of the solution is the ability to manage the switches and the ability to have a certain level of familiarity with setting up and configuring the switches. You can link them together and manage them as one single switch.

What needs improvement?

The biggest pain point we had was getting the switches delivered. However, that likely was due to COVID and everything else. I don't think it's a Cisco issue. It's just a supplier issue, as they seem to have a hard time getting deliveries in order.

One thing we did have to work around is, on the broadcast side, we're reliant on the PTP protocol, precision time protocol, and the Cisco switches in general, don't support that. Some do, however, the majority of ones we're using did not. We worked around it, however, that would be one area for us that would have been simply solved with more capabilities for PTP on Cisco's end.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've dealt with the solution for a long time, however, my most recent project has just been over the last six or so months.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution has been absolutely fine so far and I have yet to run into any scalability issues just yet. A company should be able to expand if they need to.

We have about 100 people using the product at any given time.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't really have direct knowledge of technical support, however, I haven't heard anybody mention anything about reaching out to Cisco. They tend to work through their vendor CDW. I'm sure they have some support agreement with Cisco, although I'm really not the person that would be able to answer that. In general, I can't speak to Cisco's support as I've never had reason to reach out to them.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't directly involved with the configuration, however, it seemed that the main problem we had was just nailing down the requirements. The way I've worked here is there's a central IT department for the company. They're remotely configuring it. There just was a lot of confusion about specific requirements getting imported. Once those were clarified, then there was no problem setting it up. 

I don't think it's a Cisco issue. It's really an internal management issue in this company. The tools were there and once we nailed down the requirements and we understood them, then it seemed to work just fine. We haven't had any problems since then.

In terms of maintenance, there's a core IT team here of about four people with a manager. Then, there are the corporate people that are shared amongst the whole corporation. At any one time, we probably have one of those persons working on some issue here, on average. Overall, we have six people who can handle maintenance, however, it's not full-time. There are other duties too.

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

The costs and licensing aren't part of my job and therefore I don't know anything of exact pricing.

What other advice do I have?

We provide engineering and technical support services with a hardware-software. It's my understanding that w don't have a business relationship with Cisco.

I'm not sure which version of the solution we're using.

My advice to other organizations is to make sure to ensure that whoever the supplier is, they can commit to delivering and making deliveries. In our case, we're waiting on one switch for instance. It's in the mail. It got lost. Now they're promising delivery by tomorrow. I don't see that as a Cisco issue, however, it is a problem when it comes to getting everything implemented. I would have locked in the vendor that could ensure delivery if I knew these issues would arise. 

Overall, I would rate the solution as a solid eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Saad Aslam
Senior Information Technology Manager at FAP Marine Terminals Ltd
Real User
Top 10
Good performance and easy to maintain

Pros and Cons

  • "What I like the most is the performance and the latency that Cisco provides."
  • "The GUI is not that easy."

What is our primary use case?

We are using Cisco Switches in a data center for access at the core level and the access level as well.

What is most valuable?

What I like the most is the performance and the latency that Cisco provides.

Once you have the Cisco box, you can put it in its place, switch it on and you can forget that it is there.

What needs improvement?

The GUI is not that easy. They need to work on the CLI, and to do that you have to have technical resources in-house if you want to do it yourself.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches for approximately two years with this company. I have been using Cisco for two years, but in my entire career, I have been using Cisco for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable solution. There are no issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are no limitations to scalability. It depends on what you choose. Once you choose the product you want then collaborate with getting that box which is important.

You need to know what your plan is two years in advance, and how you want to upgrade it. You will need to select the box as it is.

If you make your own selection, there may be an issue. Cisco provides many scalable options.

How are customer service and technical support?

It has never been a case of getting support from Cisco directly. I have purchased Cisco from my vendor and receive 100% support. I have no issues with support in my city. From whatever vendor I purchase from, I get full support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not too complex, but you will need to have technical resources if you want to configure it properly.

They are plug and play. You can just plug and start working with it, but in order to use the full features or basic features, you need some kind of technical expertise.

In Cisco, the GUI interface is not that easy. 

If you are not a technical person, you can install it, but you can't use it to its full potential. You will be working with a simple switch and for what you are paying, you won't be getting anything out of it, as it won't be configured properly.

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

The price could be reduced. Cisco is costly.

Price is a major concern with Cisco. Companies tend to move away from Cisco because the price is on the higher side. In addition to the fees being high, you pay for support which is also on the higher side.

Many companies tend to go with other options because of pricing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did a comparison between Cisco and Ruckus because we were looking at changing our wireless system.

We use Cisco, but have not used Ruckus before and wanted to evaluate which was better.

The PoC that was completed showed that Ruckus was more successful and useful than Cisco. Also, the cost of Cisco is much higher than Ruckus is.

When comparing cost, the ROI, and the cost of support, Cisco is way above Ruckus. We have decided that we will be changing to Ruckus.

What other advice do I have?

I would 100% recommend Cisco Switches to others who are interested in using them.

Being an IT head, and running a data center, my top priority is to have zero down-time.

Once you have Cisco, your mind is at ease, there will be no issues.

If my rating is based on technical and functionality then I would rate this solution a ten out of ten. If you include the cost and the support then I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Ethernet Switches. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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Nawaf AlTamimi
Network & System Security Consultant at Zakat House
Real User
Top 20
User friendly solution with good stability

Pros and Cons

  • "In terms of most valuable feature, I would say the user interface."
  • "When you contact support, they don't give you the expert at first, they give you the beginner. Only after going around in a circle do they give you experts. Why don't they just give the expert from the beginning?"

How has it helped my organization?

Cisco is our backbone. This includes switches, main office, links - all Cisco. For the one between branches, we have Riverbed to speed it up. For internet analytics, we have Palo Alto, Fortinet Security. For application delivery, Citrix. Database, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle. We also have business tools and developer bots with Oracle. That is a lot of products!

What is most valuable?

We keep Cisco for normal switches for corrective flows and the data center. But they are not so good with the firewall so we use Palo Alto and FortiGate. 

In terms of the most valuable feature, I would say the user interface. We also have Citrix XenApp for the remote service. And Exchange and other Microsoft solutions.

We have other software for software control, for users and help desk. For security, we have RSA Netwitness and Netwitness Security Analytics,

What needs improvement?

We are only using Cisco for switches and for the IP telephony call center. 

It needs to be manageable, easy, and fast with Windows and other GUIs. They must improve their interface and stability.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches since 1997.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, it is stable. That's why we've stuck with it. It's very stable.

The IT department is more than 55 people. But the server team has three teams of four people. The security team, four people. Database team, five people. We have one supervisor, the head of the team, and two or three under him for his team. I am the head of the security team and the infrastructure team, for servers, switches, and security. So I can tell you that it takes five to seven people to handle Cisco and the security.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, it is scalable. With Cisco we have built-in stacks and stackable switches. And it has a stackable fiber from the main office to the Catalyst and the Nexus switch.

How are customer service and technical support?

The problem with customer support is that they give you beginners. We need the experts after the first, second, or third call. Only after a week do you get the expert after you explain and complain about it.

What about the implementation team?

We are the Qatar government authority. So with Cisco, we are dealing with all types of gateways. Cisco is in Kuwait. Many times when we are building something with Cisco we design the infrastructure, everything. Then we go to the Cisco dealers. Because this is our strategy, we work with Cisco directly. With the firewall, I work with Palo Alto or FortiGate or any other brand. Who will give good support, good installation? The solution for installation will be provided and approved by the center itself. That is our strategy. We are happy with this. Before we develop a solution, we sit down directly with the vendor.

Our IP telephony is all Cisco. I would consider another data component.

What other advice do I have?

Cisco is very good and stable. But the problem is that it is costly. It's a very good service but it would be costly for small companies. They should go for lower-end, cheaper switches. Because we are the government, we are stuck with Cisco. But the small and medium-sized businesses must go lower, such as with Huawei or another brand.

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Cisco Ethernet Switches a nine.

The main problem is the support in the Middle East. This is a problem for all products, not just Cisco. When you contact support, they don't give you the expert at first, they give you the beginner. Only after going around in a circle do they give you experts. Why don't they just give the expert from the beginning?

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Joel Masocha
IT Manager at a construction company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Stable infrastructure components that scale with our needs

Pros and Cons

  • "As I am Cisco certified, I like the way that I can program them."
  • "Better manageability and ease of use would be an improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We use Cisco Ethernet Switches as part of our network infrastructure at two different sites.

How has it helped my organization?

Cisco switches has helped provide efficient and stable switching in the organization. Once configured and setup right they work fine without any worries and has helped free up resources to concentrate on other tasks. 

What is most valuable?

I love the fact that they can be configured to do exactly what you need them to do, which in my opinion is what anyone with Cisco experience would enjoy doing. They can be set up and configured nicely.

What needs improvement?

Ease of configuration for none cisco experts would be an improvement.

Pricing can also do with some improvement to make it more competitive with competitor products with similar functionality.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using cisco switches for over ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Cisco switches are scalable. I manage two large sites and at the first site, we have about 200 people. The second site has about 300 people. We do not have any plan to expand, per se. I do have plans to upgrade the switches and probably redesign the environment for better efficiency. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco has a good technical support and I love they way the come in to help when you are doing a research on their site. I have not had any serious need for cisco technical support and so I would not be in the best position to give a conclusive evaluation of this but I must say they do a good job with their certifications so people would need very little of such services.  For a few minor challenges I was also able to get answers from the cisco forums. There is a pretty good database online for any conceivable problems one would face with the cisco switches.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a different solution prior to this, although we are going to be buying a few Meraki switches that we will add to our environment. We are going to test them to see how well they work with Cisco.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set was complex. When I came into the project, the features were just put in with no consideration, whatsoever. This meant that I had to start from scratch to design the network, draw up the configurations and setup vlans to easily manage the network.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented in-house.

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

The price of the product is on the higher side, I feel you pay for the  name of the product as well but it's still manageable for corporate customers. Licensing is simple and straight forward which is something going well for cisco switches.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is that if you are going to be implementing Cisco then you should at least have someone in the organization who is knowledgeable and can manage the features. The alternative is to use Meraki because they are easier to manage.

We have some pretty old switches in our environment and some of them are only 100 megabits. I would like to upgrade them all to at least one-gigabit.

Some of our uplinks are on ethernet, but I want to upgrade them to fiber to improve the performance.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SC
Head Of Information & Communication Technology at a transportation company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good performance and redundancy, and well worth the investment

Pros and Cons

  • "These switches help to build the best network, the way we want it."
  • "Putting in a more complete management infrastructure would help when it comes to handling lower-end switches."

What is our primary use case?

We use these switches in our data center core to handle all of the converged networks. They handle our SAN servers as well as other components.

The outer perimeter is handled by the Cisco 2960s, for distribution of traffic to endpoint clients.

How has it helped my organization?

These switches help to build the best network, the way we want it. There is a guarantee that makes us feel better about having a secure network.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the performance and ability to handle the flow of traffic.

The redundancy that the switches provide is very good.

What needs improvement?

There is a focus on improving the UI for managing the higher-end switches and routers, but not the traditional ones. Putting in a more complete management infrastructure would help when it comes to handling lower-end switches.

These switches are pretty expensive to put into place, so if they could bring the price point down then it would be really good.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Cisco Ethernet switches for just over ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution very well handles the capability for scaling. It is fairly simple and easy to do.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Sometimes we have issues with certain switches hanging.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have only indirectly been in contact with technical support through our vendor. Our interactions mostly had to do with registering the product and downloading updates. We have not been in contact concerning a particular issue about a product.

How was the initial setup?

Our initial setup was more than ten years ago, and it is something that has been modified over time. Whatever it was, originally, has been rebuilt. As we continue to add new components, it becomes simpler and easier for us to go forward. 

The deployment for the data center core took four days to get all of the services up and running. This included the interfacing, as well as cutting over to ensure that there was no outage. A lot of this had to do with the waiting time and change control, where the cut-over was done during hours that are less used by the employees.

Our other primary switches were pretty simple to change, as and when required. This was never much of a dealy.

What about the implementation team?

Our vendor assisted us with the original deployment. Our project team consisted of four people and there was an additional person from the vendor.

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

These switches are expensive, but they are an excellent buy and definitely have value for the investment.

What other advice do I have?

The switches that we have purchased handle our load pretty well. We do not have a high data plan network.

When our switches age beyond the life cycle then each will be replaced with whatever the current model is in the market at the time. In the future, we would like to integrate Cisco Aironet, although Wi-Fi is a bit down the line for us.

Overall, this is a good product but there is always room for improvement. My main complaint about Cisco is the price aspect.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AB
Security Administrator at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A stable and robust solution for switching routing

Pros and Cons

  • "When it comes to switching routing, we have no doubts about Cisco."
  • "I would like for the solution to have more more security features and be more user-friendly."

What is our primary use case?

We don't work with the latest version, which is why I am currently conducting research. We wish to see if we can move from the existing solution to an upgrade. We have been using 2960 switches for a very long time, say... five, six or seven years, and they have reached the end of their lives, which is why I proposed a change. 

What is most valuable?

When it comes to switching routing, we have no doubts about Cisco. It's a robust solution. One cannot find latency, such as attenuations, even within our cables. It's really stable. In contrast, some other switches can switch over, but we found Cisco Ethernet Switches to be stable and robust, even taking into account Africa's infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

I would like for the solution to have more security features and be more user-friendly. It should have a GUI graphical user interface which would allow the person to interact with it. The look and feel should be addressed. As people are in the process of moving away from CLI, it should be something that anybody can manage.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches for more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

the solution is really stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We may switch to another solution, although this will depend on the cost. The dollar has multiplied five times over the past ten years, which means that certain things are not affordable in dollars at the moment. I am not saying that the best product would be be cost prohibitive for us. This said, one's budget and the cost of materials must be weighed. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco is consistently at the top of its game when it comes to quickly routing our security. Other solutions with which I have experience are less so, such as concern identity service engines. The problem with this is the support. Switches are appliances that, once put in place, hardly require support. However, this is needed for firewalls, routers and other security appliances, but is hard to come by in Nigeria

I'm not saying that I am dissatisfied with Cisco's technical support, but I am looking at what is involved in reaching it and having the app escalated to the second party. 

Generally speaking, it is not possible to reach second-line support. One would usually reach the original equipment manufacturer at first-line support. Generally speaking, they would prefer not to escalate an issue. Take, for example, the Cisco security appliance we currently have deployed. It must be unplugged and we are not benefiting from the support that we need. 

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

The solution can be comparatively cheaper. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am currently in the process of comparing the solution with that of Huwei switches, which I know can be cheaper, taking into account the exchange rate with Yuan and the dollar increase in Nigeria. 

Although I am not looking for a cheaper solution, I am doing so for one that is affordable. 

What other advice do I have?

There are between 2,000 and 2,500 people making use of the solution in our company.

I rate Cisco Ethernet Switches as a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Lusanda  Matyunjwa
Enterprise and Security Manager at University of Fort Hare
Real User
Top 10
Impressive after-sales support, stable, and scales well as our needs evolve

Pros and Cons

  • "I like their after-sales support more than anything because it's very good."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our datacenter is built using Cisco switches. We use Cisco products for wireless access, routing, and switching.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Cisco switches have helped our organization through good connectivity speeds and stability. In particular, it has improved our wireless capabilities.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is the after-sales support. I like their after-sales support more than anything because it's very good.

    The sales experience was good because we deal with Cisco directly and then buy through the partners. It means that we developed a close relationship with Cisco in the process.

    Cisco has been adding things on top of their devices, like DNA, which makes managing them very easy.

    What needs improvement?

    For people who are new, the interface can be confusing. For me, however, I don't think that there's anything that can be simplified because I'm used to the command line and the old way of working with Cisco switches. I find them simple.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches for between 15 and 16 years, since 2004.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This is a very stable product that we have barely had issues with.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This is a very scalable solution. When we started, we didn't have enough switches and other equipment. One of the beauties is that when we add new technologies or buy new switches, it scales.

    We are in a university setting and there are new students every year, so we always have to connect more people to our network. It is definitely scalable and we plan to increase our usage in the future.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The technical support is very good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have worked with products from Juniper, HP, and many other vendors that have switching products. Cisco is the best, not necessarily the team, but the after-sale support.

    In some places I have been, they were using other brands. Based on their experience after I introduced them to Cisco, they stuck with it because of the support.

    How was the initial setup?

    I completed the Cisco training in 2008 and from there, the initial setup was simple.

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

    Cisco products are not cheap, which is something that can be improved.

    What other advice do I have?

    There used to be a problem with programmability, but with the release of the new switches, I don't think that there's anything that needs to be added.

    I would recommend them any day.

    My advice for anybody who is considering this type of product is that when you buy a Cisco device, you don't just buy the device but the whole organization. Cisco will get people to assist you when you've got an issue, and they will make sure that you get that support. They have the best after-sales support that I have ever worked with.

    I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Rafael Riera
    Pre-sales Engineer at a wholesaler/distributor with 51-200 employees
    Reseller
    Top 5
    Excellent technical support, good features, and easy to set up

    Pros and Cons

    • "Technical support is excellent. They are very helpful."
    • "I don't like that you have to have a license of 10 years to use the switch. I don't understand that policy."

    What is most valuable?

    Cisco is number one in switches. Normally, if a manufacturer does not have the same categories as Cisco, it's not a good switch. Cisco has a lot of features that you never use that are implemented in the software. It's nice to know they are there if you need them. 

    For a simple customer, the initial setup is quick and easy.

    Technical support is excellent. They are very helpful.

    What needs improvement?

    Typically, mid-range customers don't have a need for all of the features embedded in Cisco's software.

    The solution is a bit difficult.

    I don't like the new way the licensing is set up. I don't like that you have to have a license of 10 years to use the switch. I don't understand that policy. It's not useful for the customer.

    There are some features in previous versions or previous models that were automatically included in the software. However, now, in the new switches, they don't have it included. You have to go to an advanced version.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been dealing with the solution for the last two decades. It's been 20 years. I have a lot of experience with them.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The performance of the solution is very good. We've found the solution to be reliable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    While I haven't been in touch with Cisco's technical support in the past year, I have worked with them in the past and I have always had a positive experience. I would rate their services nine out of ten. They are knowledgeable and responsive. We are satisfied with eh support they provide. They are likely the best on the market in terms of support.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It's not difficult or anything. 

    There are lots of ways to do the initial configuration. It's very flexible. I typically use the traditional setup, however, you don't necessarily need to.

    Deployment times vary. It depends on the client and the environment and what you want to do.

    For someone who knows what they are doing, it might take an hour or so to have a suite deployed. Others might need more time or might have to do more integrations with a network that's in production. That could take a week or more. It all depends.

    That said, even with configuration and integration in the mix, it's not too difficult. A company shouldn't run into any problems.

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

    There are other manufacturers that may offer better pricing. The price is important. It may be a deciding factor for some.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are a Cisco partner. We are also a Cisco customer.

    I've dealt with a lot of Cisco switches and a lot of different versions over the years.

    I would recommend the solution to others. They are likely the first option if you compare it to other manufacturers. The features and performance are superior. It would be difficult to find something better than Cisco. 

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