|All my switches are Avaya. That's in excess of 100 - 48 port switches in the 5000 series (5510/5520) We've also recently purchased about 10 - Avaya 5632's (10 GB) and have now ordered a pair of 7024's (also 10 GB).|
Don't kid yourself about Avaya being new. Before Avaya bought them out, these were Nortel switches. Before Nortel bought them out, they were originally created and manufactured by Bay Networks. As an actual product, they've been aorund for quite a while now.
We've completely replaced all Cisco products with the Nortel/Avaya switches and I am extremely happy we did. They are every bit as powerful as anything Cisco makes, but a whole lot easier to work with. Also, Avaya now has a nice comprehensive set of management tools which we're purchasing as they will make my life a whole lot easier working in a medium to large enterprise environment.
I've only worked with one or two HP switches. My take on HP is, they make excellent printers and I am certified on at something like 8 of them. As for HP/Compaq computers, I won't buy them, I've worked on too many. I've also been frustrated by their lousy support way too often! I also wouldn't buy an HP switch because I can't see the support for the switches being any better than the support for any of their other devices. When I need support, and I'm paying for support, I don't want to be put on hold for 30 minutes, run around from one department to another for another 15 only to have my call dropped.
No matter who you go with, you pay for support. The two big questions I have are:
1) how much is it going to cost me for support
2) how easy is your product to configure and maintain.
Cisco likes to keep their stuff hard to configure on purpose in order to (hopefully) force you to pay exhorbitant fees for their certification. Their gui's suck and that in order forces you back to their training to learn the CLI. The (Cisco) still want you to pay more for support than the other vendor's we compared against when we decided to move away from Cisco products. We were sick of the upfront fees, hidden fees and having to pay large amounts of money just to upgrade the latest firmware for the switches.
We settled on (then) Nortel (now Avaya) and I'm glad we did. The web interface is easy to use and while under Nortel, there was a Java based Device Manager which totally made them easy to configure. Also there's a standard telnet interface which is the same interface you see when you console in to manage the switches. Since Avaya took over, they've done away with the java device manager and it's all managed through the web interface. The telnet/console interface is still there too of course but I do most configuration/day-to-day management through the web interface.
I highly recommend you talk to the nearest Avaya dealer and the nearest Cisco dealer. Get quotes on the following:
- cost of comparable switches
- cost of support packages
- cost of, ease of use of, comprehensive coverage provided by, management software
- cost, if any, on FW/SW upgrades for said switches.
All in all, I would go with the best deal because both are excellent network appliances.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.