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HPE Ethernet Switches Alternatives and Competitors

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Read reviews of HPE Ethernet Switches alternatives and competitors

Jeff_Cooper
Information Technology Manager at King + King Architects
Real User
Top 20
Enables us to run our backups much more quickly and has a good balance of price, performance, and features

Pros and Cons

  • "SFP, speed, and 10-Gigabit are the most valuable aspects of this solution. We're an architecture firm and we sometimes deal with large files. Anything we can do to eke out even a fraction of a second less time to get something done over the course of a year adds up. If I can get 10-Gigabit running in my server room, which I am right now, even though we're only gigabit to the desktop, due to the client computers we have, I can get more performance from everybody. I'm ready to start bringing in 10-Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop once I get the hardware to do that."
  • "The web interface has been a little sketchy on occasion. Sometimes I have to reload the page to get things to show up properly, but the switch itself seems fine. The web user interface is a little wonky at times."

What is our primary use case?

NETGEAR is our distribution switch for our local area network. We have about 80 data hosts connected to our network. They go through another set of switches into this distribution switch. From there they connect to our gateway and to our servers.

The switches are on our premise and there's no special software other than that it's just a network switch.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved my organization because now the entire network is quicker. A lot of users tell me that things seem faster but they can't really elaborate. My guess is everything is just a fraction of a second quicker going through the network and that adds up at the end of the day.

What is most valuable?

SFP, speed, and 10-Gigabit are the most valuable aspects of this solution. We're an architecture firm and we sometimes deal with large files. Anything we can do to eke out even a fraction of a second less time to get something done over the course of a year adds up. If I can get 10-Gigabit running in my server room, which I am right now, even though we're only gigabit to the desktop, due to the client computers we have, I can get more performance from everybody. I'm ready to start bringing in 10-Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop once I get the hardware to do that.

It's easy to use once you actually read the instructions. There is some searching you have to do on the documentation to find exactly what you're looking to get done but it's all there. NETGEAR's forums were very helpful because people actually pointed me in the right direction when I had problems setting it up.

We use it for IT switching. It is the distribution switch for our network and then I have access switches that feed into this switch that are also 10-Gigabit. IT switching is very nice. I run my backups much more quickly. It works out to about as fast as I thought it would be. I'm quite pleased. It's definitely worth it for what you're getting; a lot of switches, a lot of networks. I looked at a lot of different possible models and products before I bought these and I settled on NETGEAR because I thought there was a good balance of price, performance, and features. And so far, it has worked out.

I have POE switches going into this switch, but I don't use this switch particularly to distribute power. The model I have is not a POE switch. It's just the data switch.

We have server aggregation. Our main file server is aggregated through two SRP interfaces on the switch.

We also have wireless access in our network, but it doesn't talk to this switch directly. It goes through one of our access switches.

What needs improvement?

The feature to change settings on the switch needs improvement. I understand why it's there, I can change the settings on the switch and I have to actually hit save to lock them in, otherwise, on a reboot, the changes revert to the earlier settings. I've forgotten to hit save a couple of times. It should have more of a big red obvious "You need to hit save" button to lock your changes in; that would have been helpful. There were a couple of times where things suddenly stopped working and I realized it was because I rebooted it and undid what I just fixed.

The web interface has been a little sketchy on occasion. Sometimes I have to reload the page to get things to show up properly, but the switch itself seems fine. The web user interface is a little wonky at times.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using NETGEAR Switches for three months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far stability has been good. Now that we've gone live with them, I have not had to restart or shut them down at all.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If I had to do it again, I might've gotten a bigger switch with more ports on it because I'm using up more of them than I originally thought I would. But that's really not a scalability issue with the switch, that's just me not planning properly.

Only I am responsible for the maintenance of the switches. I'm an IT manager. 

In terms of size, we have about 70 employees, all of whom have ethernet connections through access switches to this switch. This is the core of our network.

I don't plan to increase usage much, if at all. This is what it's going to be for the next few years.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used technical support. 

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

NETGEAR replaced some Nortel switches that were about 11 years old. They were end of life and they were not as fast. I had gigabit and 100 megabits switches. I am hoping to have these for another 10 years. I'm going to get 10-Gigabit and gigabit for my network speeds.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward once I figured out what I was doing. It was fine once I acquainted myself with the switch and with some of the features. I was not pressured to get this done quickly. When the pandemic hit, we all went home so I had an empty server room in which to work so I could try to see if they worked and if they didn't, I could try it a different way. I did not have to risk taking down the whole network with people there. That was just a fortunate happenstance.

My implementation plan was to set up this switch along with my new access switches, which were also NETGEAR. I set them up disconnected from our live network. I put everything together, including the SFP uploads, in test client and test phones, and set everything up the way it was going to be. About a month and a half ago, I went in, unplugged the old switches, put in the new ones, and turned it on. It was very quick and easy but it took about a day and a half because we have a lot of cables.

In actual time, it took about a month and a half to deploy. But in actual work hours, it probably took about four days because we were doing it in fits and starts because we were trying to move out of the office when COVID hit.

There's a learning curve, but it's not as difficult as I thought it would be.

What was our ROI?

ROI is a soft benefit. It's hard to know. I don't know if the old switches would've died this morning. 

We have them for two purposes. One, to speed up our network. Two, to refresh with new hardware that isn't a decade old. So it's hard to determine.

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

Technology keeps changing so you don't need to buy something that's going to last 100 years. Buy something that you know you're going to have to replace in five or 10 years and price it accordingly. We were told that the Nortel switches we had bought would last for 10 to 20 years and that we would never have to replace it. Networking got faster in the years between and frankly, those switches got filled with gunk, they physically start wearing out, and fans die. As long as you know that it has a five to 10-year window, why would you pay 20 grand a piece for a switch? I just don't understand that.

There are no additional costs. We pay for licensing, hardware, and cables. That is it.

The pricing was definitely reasonable, I don't know if I'd say low. I think all networking equipment is more expensive than it should be. But NETGEAR had the price point that least annoyed me.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Cisco, Juniper, Dell, and HP but they were all nearly twice the price of NETGEAR. I also had some hesitation to some. There seems to be some hesitation by some IT professionals to use NETGEAR for their enterprise and business networking, but so far, I'm happy.

We also considered Ubiquiti. We have a couple of Ubiquiti wireless access points. So I said, "Well, I'll just look at them." Ubiquiti was a possibility, but a lot of what this came down to was that there seems to be some hesitation in the IT world about using NETGEAR for enterprise and for business use. They do have a pretty large in-home user market. 

I have a couple of older NETGEAR switches that are at least as old as the Nortel ones that I just replaced. They have been on for 15 years and have never been down. I thought that if they're still going, they can't be that bad. I'll try it.

The primary reasons we chose NETGEAR over Ubiquiti, Cisco, and other products are because NETGEAR seemed stable and it frankly seems easier to set up, especially more than something like Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be: Don't rush it. Give yourself time between getting the switch and putting it in. That helped me do this properly. Have patience. Read the documentation. Be organized.

NETGEAR has the ability to label the interfaces and you can label different things on the switch in the web interface, while our old switches didn't have this feature. That helps me keep track of what's where. Being organized is really the key to all of this. When I am home I can dial into our VPN, look at the user interface of the switch, and I can tell you what's in every port on that switch.

I would rate NETGEAR Switches a nine out of ten. The only thing that would take away a point would be the user interface. The web interface sometimes needs refreshing and doesn't keep up with what I'm trying to do.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
MN
Network Admin at a government with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Excellent scalability and good feature-set, pricing, and support

Pros and Cons

  • "The thing that sets Juniper apart from most switches is that when you're in the command line and you make a configuration change, you just write the command and then say "commit confirmed minutes". For example, I'm configuring a switch here in my office, which is five miles away, and I say, "commit confirmed 5". If I can't get back to the interface within five minutes to be able to make sure the switch came up, it rolls back to the previous configuration. This way I do not get locked out, or the switch doesn't get messed up because of the incorrect configuration. That's an automatic feature, which is pretty slick. I haven't seen that feature with other vendors that I've worked with. That's probably my most favorite feature."
  • "The initial setup for Juniper switches is complex. Juniper has a new program that solves that problem a little bit, but it is expensive, so I don't use it. It is Juniper Mesh, Juniper Wire, or something like that where you plug in a switch, and it goes out to their cloud, finds a config, and brings it down. So, you can do everything cloud-based, but there is a fee for that. It is expensive, so I've never used it. If we were starting, we would try to do something like that. It is more for a large enterprise for managing hundreds of switches versus what we're doing. They should make its price more cost-effective or include it for new or smaller companies."

What is our primary use case?

We use it across our whole environment. We use it for everything from our core to our edge. It is basically deployed everywhere. A good percentage of our Juniper switches are in a stacked array. For example, we do four 48-port switches for a wiring closet in a building. They're all stacked together, and they call it ActivChassis. Most companies, such as HP, ADTRAN, also do the same kind of thing. So, we do a virtual chassis formation in our wiring closet. For smaller buildings that only need one switch, we do a single switch at the distant end.

We have a lot from the 2300 Series. We have one 3300 and quite a few from the 3400 Series. We also have one 4550, and we have also been buying the 4350 series ones.

What is most valuable?

The thing that sets Juniper apart from most switches is that when you're in the command line and you make a configuration change, you just write the command and then say "commit confirmed minutes". For example, I'm configuring a switch here in my office, which is five miles away, and I say, "commit confirmed 5". If I can't get back to the interface within five minutes to be able to make sure the switch came up, it rolls back to the previous configuration. This way I do not get locked out, or the switch doesn't get messed up because of the incorrect configuration. That's an automatic feature, which is pretty slick. I haven't seen that feature with other vendors that I've worked with. That's probably my most favorite feature.

A nice thing about Juniper is that they also have a GUI interface, and it is a little bit better than most other vendors. Their GUI interface does more than a lot of other vendors.

Another nice thing about Juniper is that their training is available for free on their website. I wanted to get certified with Juniper, and I did it for free. On the entry-level exam, they pay for 75% of the exam if you take it through their website.

What needs improvement?

The negative of Juniper is that their command-line coding is a lot different than any other vendor, so there is a fairly steep learning curve to it. 

The initial setup for Juniper switches is complex. Juniper has a new program that solves that problem a little bit, but it is expensive, so I don't use it. It is Juniper Mesh, Juniper Wire, or something like that where you plug in a switch, and it goes out to their cloud, finds a config, and brings it down. So, you can do everything cloud-based, but there is a fee for that. It is expensive, so I've never used it. If we were starting, we would try to do something like that. It is more for a large enterprise for managing hundreds of switches versus what we're doing. They should make its price more cost-effective or include it for new or smaller companies.

One advantage that Cisco has is that there are a billion people who use it, so there are a lot more publications or books, whereas, with Juniper, you really can't find a current book. Everything that you have is from their website. They have a lot of documentation on their website, which is good, but if you're a person like me who likes having a hardback book, you're not going to find one that's current. If I wanted to be at home and learn something and read about it, I won't be able to do that. It is going to be a PDF, so you either have got to print it out, or you have to read it online. Sometimes, being older and having bad eyes, that's not good.

For how long have I used the solution?

We probably started using it four years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is excellent. It is being used extensively. We're going to finish off other vendors this year. It is going to be all Juniper.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is good. Our experience with them has been good.

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

We have been supporting three different vendors: HP, ADTRAN, and Juniper. Our environment was getting old. So, we just started replacing things that were ten or eight years old. This year, we're replacing everything so that we're just one shop, and we don't have to support three different vendors. It is tough to support three different OS, so that's why we are finishing others off.

Juniper's GUI interface is a little bit better than most other vendors, but Juniper's command line is tougher than HP. HP has the easiest interface. On an HP switch, you can just write a command, and it automatically knows where to go. Juniper has a very hierarchal kind of structure, and you have to be within that framework of what you're trying to do to make that change. That's why it is a little bit harder. Juniper commands are also a little bit longer, but it is easy to fill out commands by using a question mark or a tab. It'll then auto-fill if you're typing it correctly, which is nice.

Juniper is better in terms of if you make a mistake. When you make a command mistake on HP, you don't necessarily get to know. On Juniper, if you're using a command and you get it all set up, and then you hit commit, it won't commit if there is a syntax error or some other issue. It will tell you that there is an error and you got to fix it. It also tells you what it is, but knowing the commands is the hard part.

How was the initial setup?

It was complex. The first few that we got were tough, and sometimes, they still can be tough. It has definitely a steep learning curve. If you are an organization that has never used it before, it is going to be tough.

If you know what you're doing, you can get a switch done in a couple of hours. If you're new, it is going to take you days to weeks, depending upon how much you want to get it to work. So, it is kind of complex.

I use SecureCRT to configure all my switches, which replaces Putty and is made by VanDyke software. It is not that expensive and costs around $90. Using SecureCRT has made things easier for me, and it has really helped me with Juniper. If you're familiar with Putty, it works really well. It gives you options to store all of your commands. So, when I'm building a new switch, I have all the commands that I normally use, such as the commands to set up the IP address or a route. I don't have to memorize the commands. I can just double-click the set route command and then just change a variable.

What about the implementation team?

For the first two switches, we used the reseller from whom we bought the switches. Someone from their company came in and installed the first two switches. After that, we looked at his configs and figured out how to do it, and since then, we did it on our own. Our experience with the reseller was good.

Maintenance is handled by two of us in my department, but we do so many other things. We are Network Admins. 

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

Their prices are competitive and not bad. It is cheaper than Cisco.

We have a yearly license.

What other advice do I have?

It has more features than I'm currently using. Their support is fine, and their prices are also competitive. It is cheaper than Cisco, so I would definitely recommend it over Cisco because of the price. 

Juniper provides training for free on their website. You can do all their courses for free through their website. I would highly recommend doing these courses. They are free, which is awesome. You're not going to get free Cisco courses.

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. The only reason for not giving it a 10 is its high learning curve. In terms of capabilities and feature set, it is right up there.

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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AA
Technical Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
Easy initial setup with excellent newer models, but the firewall is not powerful

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is simple."
  • "The firewall is not very powerful. The other week, one of the switches only gave one gigabit of output. It's become a concern for our customers."

What is our primary use case?

There are many use cases for the solution. We implement them mainly for SMEs.

What is most valuable?

The switches, overall, are very good.

The newest switches, in particular, are excellent.

The initial setup is simple.

What needs improvement?

The problem that we saw with some customers is that it's very hard to train them to manage everything on the cloud, and some customers don't want this. 

The firewall is not very powerful. The other week, one of the switches only gave one gigabit of output. It's become a concern for our customers.

It is very difficult to know what we should do. There should be a queue available to connect over the VPN. However, there was a lack of an image in the other queue. Once, when a customer wanted to tour the system, there were issues with connectivity to the VPN, which was offputting. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. We've tested it extensively and it's very good. It's also quite fast. A company doesn't have to fear reliability with Meraki. They shouldn't expect to deal with bugs or glitches. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good on the backend. We've even run some stress tests to see how the solution would hold up to expansion and have had great results. If an organization needs to scale up, they can do so with Meraki. It's not a problem at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

The solution offers okay technical support. Users need pretty good access to senior engineers on the technical support team. Sometimes you have really bad errors on the site and you need very advanced help. A more junior technical support staff member will not be able to assist. Meraki needs to continue to work to ensure senior staff is available to deal with those levels of calls as they happen. A user expects to have a senior engineer to take the question from the beginning to the end if big issues arise.

Last week or last month we had an issue where we really needed a senior engineer and the support staff we got originally didn't know how to answer our questions. We had to pay for a more senior engineer.

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

We also use Aruba and HPE switches. We use a combination.

How was the initial setup?

We've found the setup to be very straightforward.

On the promotion side, the marketing team will help when something goes wrong. You can write to someone at the company and they can help troubleshoot any issues as soon as something comes up.

Typically, it only takes about one day to deploy a switch. For a simple deployment, we just take it and connect it to the new port, and then we just connect everything to the computer. It's very easy. We haven't had issues or complications.

What about the implementation team?

We're an integrator; we implement the solution for our clients.

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

We typically sign contracts for years as opposed to yearly. One year might be a bit expensive, but if you choose a long-term contract, it's very good. The pricing is very good. It's quite competitive in the marketplace. There are others that are much more expensive than this product. It's affordable, even for small companies.

What other advice do I have?

We're an integrator. We tend to test things before we send them to our customers.

We are a very small company, we are constantly looking for competitive pricing, as we don't have big budgets to throw around.

The solution is very good. From using the software to deployment, Meraki is good. Even enterprises would benefit from using the solution. Although we typically deal with smaller companies, I'd pick Meraki every time.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten. I would rate it higher, however, we have unique needs for the VPN, and require complex software features

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
RG
Security & Infrastructure Architect at a consumer goods company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
Reasonably-priced and easy to manage from a central location

Pros and Cons

  • "All of the networking products that we use are Aruba, so we use Aruba Central to manage them."
  • "It would be good if I could get a 24-port, 10 gig module."

What is our primary use case?

The 5400 series is a modular chassis-based switch and it allows us to buy parts for different needs, such as 10 gigs, or a one gig ethernet over copper for workstations. It's really our core switch and we actually have a couple of different models.

That's in our headquarters, and then we have some other sites that use Aruba. I think they're the 2600 series or 2700 series, the smaller, modular ones, and stackable ones. Not the chassis-based.

How has it helped my organization?

When I first started two years ago, we didn't have these centralized modular switches and we had a bunch of stackable switches and there were many loops in the network.

We had different brands too. HP, Cisco, Linksys, Aruba, we had NETGEAR. There was not a common type of interface. We had network issues almost weekly.

We were able to get it organized and centrally managed, with a spanning tree to detect loops and more.

What is most valuable?

All of the networking products that we use are Aruba, so we use Aruba Central to manage them. This gives us a single place to look at land switches, wireless switches, and switches in other offices. It makes management a little easier.

It's the same type CLI commands to manage these.

What needs improvement?

There are many options with the modular switch and you buy cards for it. If you want 48 ports of one gig, you can buy a card for that, but more options would be better.

Right now, there's only eight, an eight-port, 10 gig module and sometimes we need a little denser than eight ports. It would be good if I could get a 24-port, 10 gig module.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Aruba Switches for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Aruba Switches are very stable. We keep it up to date.

We update the firmware and software annually, as needed. We haven't had any issues. They are relatively new.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Aruba Switches scale well, because of the modularity of it and to be able to buy different modules and interchange modules. We have a pair of them and they are linked together with 40 gig connections, so all of the cards are interchangeable between the two switches and some of that is just by design.

These are the core switches in our organization and everybody in the office uses them. This includes our remote offices. Everybody passes data through them, albeit this is somewhat less at the moment because of the COVID quarantine.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had to contact technical support.

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

We had a mix of modular switches at this company. We had some HP, Cisco, NETGEAR, and Linksys. We looked at the switches that can provide us the port density that we needed, in one or two chassis-type units, and was also affordable.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

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

The price point was a big consideration for us and it is reasonable enough that we're able to standardize on Aruba for the networking pieces in our organization. This also includes Wi-Fi and access points.

Generally speaking, the price is good.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, this is a good, solid tool. It doesn't do anything fancy but it does what we need it to do. We don't do any routing through it. We have other routers to do all of that work. Again, the modular flexibility was a big attraction for us.

I've used Switches forever, so I knew what to expect. There was no installation really needed. We knew how to set up VLAN and set up the interfaces. We're happy with it.

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.
Hossam Ismail
Expert Network Consultant at a consumer goods company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Consultant
Top 5
Flexible with good configuration capabilities but too expensive

Pros and Cons

  • "Cisco as a whole is flexible."
  • "Cisco products are expensive compared to any other solution. Now, there are many competitors that give the same level of services - such as Juniper or Aruba."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for our data center and edge switches. Like a lot of companies, we use (in the data center) core switches on Layer 3, and (on the edge) switches in Layer 2. 

What is most valuable?

Cisco as a whole is flexible. 

The solution can be configured to our specifications.

The solution allows you to monitor CPU utilization and memory usage.

What needs improvement?

You can only configure both switches and routers via the command-line. They should work to take on the newer HP and Aruba approach where you can configure from a URL or command line.

It could be useful if they developed the GUI interface to enable us to configure all features such as VLANs, port assignment, routing, DSP, through the GUI. That would make it easier for beginners. 

Cisco products are expensive compared to any other solution. Now, there are many competitors that give the same level of services - such as Juniper or Aruba.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for about eight years. It's been a long time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. Cisco offers very reliable products. All of their hardware is quite reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is quite scalable. However, the pricing is a concern. If I need to add switches, I tend to look at cheaper options like Juniper or HP.

In my organization, there were about 150 switches or more. That covered about 4,000 users and covered both wireless and LAN, wired and wireless.

We may not continue to use it, as it is expensive and there are alternatives.

How are customer service and technical support?

There are many vendors in Egypt. Therefore, we can always find someone who can help us with technical support.

On top of that, we've found the website to be quite good in terms of finding documentation to help with troubleshooting.

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

We also use Aruba switches. I've used HP in the past as well.

How was the initial setup?

Depending on the project for configuration, and considering deploying only one switch at a time, it may take about five minutes to handle one switch. Aruba, in contrast, might take ten minutes.  

We had about four people who handled the deployment.

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

The pricing of the solution is quite high. There are lots of comparable products out there that are nowhere near the cost. 

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers and end-users.

We use Cisco switches at Layer 2 and Layer 3.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend Cisco to other organizations. After using HP, I found that they had just as good of a product with more features and better pricing.

In general, I would rate this product at a seven 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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