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HPE ProCurve Alternatives and Competitors

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Read reviews of HPE ProCurve alternatives and competitors

JD
Network Engineer at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
The unique ring topology protocol and pricing makes this a unique solution worthy of consideration

Pros and Cons

  • "The unique ring topology is actually a handy innovation."
  • "The price is low compared to the competition."
  • "The training and resources for learning are lacking."

What is our primary use case?

I have been a network engineer since the mid-nineties. The company I am in now has19 buildings and 50 plus switches, all Extreme. We use lots of gen one and gen twos — either the X460s or X690s — using the SummitStack. That is our standard variant of the Extreme Networks.  

We do have a couple of old 460s and a couple of old 480s, but we use the SummitStack for those versions instead of the Black Diamond.  

What is most valuable?

I have been using ExtremeSwitching for so long that it is really natural for me. I just use them. I guess if I had to pick something I really like, it would maybe be the ease of using their protocol. They use ring topology protocol. Using that protocol is somewhat unique to Extreme. It is actually really handy.  

What needs improvement?

I think Extreme can learn a few things from Cisco's approach. That is not to say that trying to become Cisco would be an improvement for Extreme. It is just that they might acknowledge the differences in the direction the solutions have taken and maybe learn from what Cisco does right. They are different even though they set out to accomplish the same thing.  

To call Extreme wrong for their approach would be like telling people in Great Britain that their drivers are bad because they drive on the left side of the road. They have been driving on that side of the road and that's what they chose to do. They are not going to just go and change it one day so they all drive on the right side of the road. It would be a pretty big undertaking in adjusting to it. I do not think that is going to improve Extreme's product to try and imitate Cisco. Making that kind of a major change is not something you should do just to be like another product and it would not be a way to improve what you do.  

I would say that they could learn from what Cisco does right. Extreme needs to improve on their training. They have been working on it, but they do not really have enough training classes and learning resources for users at this point. When we first put ExtremeSwitches in, it was very complex. I think that might have been because no one had any real experience with the product and people were more likely to be familiar with Cisco if they did have experience. The training was not up to speed.  

Extreme aught to take that into account and at least offer more resources to learn the products. If engineers are coming from the Cisco world, it is really like pulling your mind through the looking glass or driving on the other side of the road. It is just a totally different way of thinking. Cisco had a 12-year head start on the market. More people see switching from a Cisco perspective.  

Other than offering training, they are getting better. When I have a problem, I can at least look up a solution online. But with Extreme Switches, if you look online, you are just not going to get as much information and options as you do with a search for problems on Cisco. Everybody and their brother could tell you stuff about Cisco because they are familiar with it.  

In some way, it is a benefit to have less information. When there is not as much stuff out there, then you have less stuff to sort through. With Cisco there is so much you might have to determine where the reliable resources are. With Extreme the resources are more limited but sometimes that means that you will not get the answer you are looking for.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using ExtremeSwitching for at least eight years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

After the first year where we were having some stability issues, things came around. Now we are good for stability. If any part of what we have breaks, Extreme will just replace it.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Extreme is quite scalable. We have a lot of buildings (19) a lot of switches (50+), and multiple fiber rings. I do not think we are limited in our ability to grow from that at all.  

Right now, there are only two of us doing the maintenance. Before I got sick earlier in the year, there was only one person on the maintenance. So now it is two people on the team, but working with Extreme is not the only thing that we do. We share the responsibility.  

I have no idea how we compare in size to other similar companies. We have 550 employees, and we are a 24/7 shop, like police and fire — or maybe public works. We have to be ready when we are needed.  

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support, in my case, refers more to training than calling in tickets. When Extreme bought Enterasys, they had a bit of a rocky start with that merger. But Extreme's tech support has been okay. We have got a better integration partner now and that helps.  

When we first bought the Extreme product, they had all of two classes. That is it. They were both online. The two of the courses put together were only a week long. That was all the training you could possibly get for Extreme Network Switches at the time.  

Think of that compared to the kind of training and support you can get from HP and Cisco on their equipment before you go to implement their products. Extreme's programs did not even come close to covering everything. There were parts of the product, like their management platform, that they did not even mention even though it is a valuable part of the system.  

They have been improving on their training, but I do not know how far they have taken it at this point.  

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

I have worked with both Cisco and Extreme at different times. It is almost like Alice in the Looking Glass when you compare Extreme to Cisco. Cisco uses iOS. Extreme uses xOS. These two solutions are so different. With Cisco, you configure by port — you assign everything to a port. With Extreme, you assign everything — all the ports — to a VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network). It is almost like they work in the opposite way of each other. You have to get used to adopting the mindset of the solution you are using and just do it their way.  

Extreme hardware is also less expensive than the Cisco equipment. That is a biggie in making the comparison.  

How was the initial setup?

I think the initial setup was complex. Really it was extremely complex.  

We did an RFP (Request for Proposal) and a vendor came in to put the product in. One of the problems we had that we obviously could not have known at the time was that the vendor did not necessarily know enough about how Extreme worked. It was a systems engineer from Extreme that implemented the RFP and even he did not know the product well. Then he left Extreme to go to another company. We were left holding the bag.  

For the first year, there were some glitches and gotchas that we kept running into. But after that year — and after we switched integrators — then we were in much better shape.  

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

All I can say about Extreme pricing is that it is much less expensive than Cisco and more expensive than HP. It is less expensive than Tesco by a mile. On pricing, it is going to beat most of the major competition.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The products we buy are influenced by our company's business model. Everything we want to implement that is over 30-grand, we have to do an RFP for. So a lot of times to get under that threshold, we go with the lowest possible bidder just to get things done. We have bought stuff that I have never even seen before. I had never even heard of Tegile Arrays until we bought their products. I had never even heard of Extreme Networks until we bought their products either.  

What other advice do I have?

Advice that I would give to people considering switches is that I think Extreme products are pretty feature-rich and they are definitely worth considering alongside the competition. They just have to be aware they are not going to be working like they would with Cisco, which means fewer resources and potentially fewer candidates to work with the solution as engineers.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate ExtremeSwitching as an eight-out-of-ten.  

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AA
IT Manager at a non-tech company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Scalable, reliable, and it is easy to find trained engineers

Pros and Cons

  • "The biggest advantage of having this solution is that it is easy to find engineers, and they are cheaper than hiring HP engineers."
  • "I would like to see better compatibility between Cisco and other vendors."

What is our primary use case?

I design, implement, and troubleshoot networks that use Cisco switches. I am involved in every part of the design, including wireless.

What is most valuable?

The biggest advantage of having this solution is that it is easy to find engineers, and they are cheaper than hiring HP engineers. HP engineers are difficult to find and you have to train them, which brings up the price of an HP solution.

What needs improvement?

Cisco switches are really expensive compared to other solutions, which is something that should be improved. They are almost double in price.

As of late, Cisco has been moving from one technology to the next and they don't support each other. If you want new features then you have to buy a new product and forget about the old one. This is from a licensing perspective. For example, the Cisco DNA license versus then Cisco One license are things that I don't know about.

I would like to see better compatibility between Cisco and other vendors. There are a lot of features that are for Cisco devices only, and when you bring in a second or third vendor there are a lot of problems. Fixing this incompatibility would be an improvement. I have not tried a lot of other brands, but I have connected both Huawei and Aruba Wireless with Cisco. Connecting Huawei with Aruba Wireless works well with no hangs. However, connecting Cisco and Huawei is terrible. Sometimes you have to restart one, whereas other times you have to restart the other. I do not recommend mixing equipment between these two companies.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Cisco Catalyst switches for close to 11 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If the switch is set up properly in the first place then you don't need to come back to do anything with it. This is especially true with the Catalyst 3750. It is the most stable thing in the world. I have found that some of the newer switches will hang or lose their configuration, but this never happened with the 3750.

For example, I have faced a lot of problems with the 3850, especially if there are Aruba access points. Sometimes, it will just reject the access point, although when I bring a new one, it will allow it. Sometimes the VLAN, itself, hangs. Then you can put in another VLAN and it will work. There are a lot of mysterious things that I could not find an explanation for.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not faced any problem with scalability.

In my opinion, the Catalyst switches are for enterprise-level organizations with 5,000 or more employees. If there are 1,000 or fewer employees then any switch will manage.

Some of the places I have worked in had networks with 20,000 to 70,000 users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not contacted technical support from Cisco. I have friends and colleagues who have received support but I just keep reading, then trial and error until I get it. I wouldn't want to pay for support if I don't use it. The only time I would require support is a hardware failure.

I have worked on two projects in the past where support licenses were purchased for a year. What I found was that I could purchase four additional switches and in total, they would cost less than the support. Those switches then go into storage and if one of the others fails then a replacement is available. Ultimately, it is much, much cheaper.

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

I have always used Cisco networking solutions, although we are opening a new branch and I think that this time, we will use HP. They do not want to pay one to two million dollars for IT infrastructure. With HP, if they have to pay half a million then they will approve it.

I have experience with a hybrid environment where it was a Cisco LAN and an HP Aruba wireless LAN, and I didn't like it. I was losing some great options. Based on that experience, I think that all of the hardware should be from a single vendor. Either Cisco all the way, or HP Aruba all the way.

How was the initial setup?

It is very easy and very straightforward to set up and deploy. It takes maybe 15 to 30 minutes to get it working.

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

The price of Cisco equipment is very expensive and you have to pay extra for support.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing this solution is to design the system well before deploying it. You have to consider all of the aspects and all of the options. Always beware. If there is a 1% chance of failure then consider it to be a 90% failure rate because when it fails, you will have options. Always have a plan A, B, C, and D. In my experience, sometimes all of the plans will fail, and sometimes the first one succeeds.

I can't give them a perfect market but they undeniably are of good quality.

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.
AhmedElghawabi
Technical Consultant at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
Top 10
Easy to configure and integrates well with Cisco hardware, but incompatible with SDN

Pros and Cons

  • "Dell PowerConnect Switches are easy to configure."
  • "It would be great to have modules that integrate with SDN solutions such as Cisco ACI, Arista SDN, Huawei Agile, and IBM."

What is our primary use case?

Dell PowerConnect Switches make up part of our network and they are connected to our Dell servers.

What is most valuable?

Dell PowerConnect Switches are easy to configure.

These switches fully integrate into our Cisco switches without any problem.

What needs improvement?

It would be helpful if there were an option to use the device as either a switch or a pass-through for the traffic from inside to outside. This would mean that we would not have to replace hardware in some cases. I think that the IBM switches have this feature.

It would be great to have modules that integrate with SDN solutions such as Cisco ACI, Arista SDN, Huawei Agile, and IBM.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Dell PowerConnect Switches since 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never had a problem with any of our Dell switches. I would say that these switches are stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Two modules can be stacked on a single chassis. We have approximately 60 chassis with two modules each, so 120 Dell PowerConnect switches. These are connected to Cisco switches at one end of the network.

How are customer service and technical support?

My team has not had much contact with Dell technical support because the Dell switches belong to another team. We are only responsible for installing and configuring them.

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

We also have Cisco switches in our environment. It is probably 80% Cisco and 20% Dell.

I also have experience with Huawei, HP, and Juniper switches. Huawei switches used to use a similar set of commands, but they are different now. HP uses almost the same command set. Juniper switches are more difficult to work with.

In our data center, we have also used Arista switches.

How was the initial setup?

I have not found any problems with the installation or configuration of Dell switches. I used a basic configuration so it is simple. It takes perhaps half an hour to deploy.

What about the implementation team?

We have a team but I deployed this solution myself. There is a guide available to assist with the installation and configuration. The commands are similar to Cisco, which makes it easy to use.

What other advice do I have?

We have decreased our use of Dell PowerConnect Switches in the past year because we are moving to virtualization and using SDN switches. The problem comes about because it is difficult to see the server end-point directly on the SDN. For our Dell servers, we are replacing the switches with pass-through modules because the spanning tree loops are the same. 

My advice for anybody who is considering this solution is to consider issues that might occur when using devices from multiple vendors. We found this difficult because of the integration. We like Dell because it is easy to use and it integrates well with Cisco. However, we are now having a problem where it does not integrate well with SDN. If the environment requires connectivity to SDN then these switches may not be suitable.

Rating this solution as a switch, I would say that it is eight and a half out of ten. However, with respect to integration with new technologies, it is not mature enough and I would rate it a five out of ten.

Overall, I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
CK
Network System Engineer at VSIS
Real User
Top 5
A stable networking solution with good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "The technical assistance is good."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are a leading solution integrator and Cisco FabriPath is one of the products that we implement for our customers.

    This solution makes up part of an enterprise LAN. 

    What is most valuable?

    The technical assistance is good.

    What needs improvement?

    The exact role that this solution plays, as compared to other products by Cisco, is unclear to our customers. It is sometimes difficult to highlight exactly what individual products are used for and it is something that should be simplified.

    This product doesn't have its own LAN monitoring tool.

    There would be more support for this solution if there were options available for those with a smaller budget.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been working with Cisco for at least ten years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Cisco FabriPath is a stable solution. Apart from a few cases, we have had no issues with reliability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We have not had any issues with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We are satisfied with the technical support.

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

    We primarily use Cisco, but apart from that, we also use networking solutions from Aruba.

    If a customer has a critical demand for a product from another vendor such as Juniper or HPE then we can provide it. However, normally we use either Cisco or Aruba.

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

    We are satisfied with the pricing.

    What other advice do I have?

    Most of our customers are satisfied with the solutions from Cisco. That said, nothing is ever completed because everybody has their own difficulties and challenges.

    I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
    Get our free report covering Cisco, Dell EMC, Netgear, and other competitors of HPE ProCurve. Updated: October 2021.
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