N3K-C3172TQ-10GT and similar Cisco switches

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WeekendWarrior

Active Member
Apr 2, 2015
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I am looking for a TOR switch with 10Gbase-T capabilities and found N3K-C3172TQ-10GT after looking at the 3164-TQ. The former seems to be the successor to the latter with the former offering lower power per port albeit at a higher price.

I am not familiar at all with Cisco licensing issues around used equipment. My limited understanding is that if a switch is purchased from an authorized reseller, a license can be purchased or something like that.

I can't tell what, if any, licensing I would need for a 3172 switch. I don't plan to do anything exotic with this switch although I may want to stack two 3172s for redundancy and will want to do link aggregation and VLANs (simple stuff).

When trying to bootstrap my understanding through research, I found other 48-port Cisco switches where 32 ports were operational and the remaining 16 RJ45 ports required an extra license to do anything with those ports. That spooked me a bit given my lack of experience with Cisco switches and licensing issues.

Any advice on how I would know if a 3172 purchased on eBay would be usable or not would be appreciated. Pointers to good resources on this subject would be great also.
 

blinkenlights

Active Member
May 24, 2019
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Ah, you must be looking at the -10GT units for $1.5k or -XL units for $1.2k on eBay. Those are some capable switches, especially if you want to throw object models at the -XL variant. Truth is, though, they are grossly overspec'd for home use (if that is your plan) unless you have a niche ULL HFT/HPC use case or want greater hands-on experience for work. If those acronyms made no sense, you don't need a switch like this. Also pay close attention to the noise and power/heat characteristics.. 360W typical power draw with 440W max, and somewhere between 65 and 77 dBA operating noise: Cisco Nexus 3172PQ, 3172TQ, 3172TQ-32T, 3172PQ-XL, and 3172TQ-XL Switches Data Sheet

That spooked me a bit given my lack of experience with Cisco switches and licensing issues.
It sounds like you have already decided about these units. No, seriously, I am not being facetious... Cisco is well known for pulling such shenanigans, so if you are not a fan of their "game" then don't play.

It's fun to play around with discarded data center gear that once cost tens of thousands of dollars.. I just think you will find other gear performs nearly the same for less money. I went the full Brocade/Ruckus route with Chelsio and Intel cards. The Chelsio cards are cheap enough that I can play around with overclocking the ASIC and not break the bank if a card or two burns out. Overclocking, you say? You might know it better as the low-latency (-LL) profile for their T5/T6 cards ;)
 

WeekendWarrior

Active Member
Apr 2, 2015
357
147
43
57
Ah, you must be looking at the -10GT units for $1.5k or -XL units for $1.2k on eBay. Those are some capable switches, especially if you want to throw object models at the -XL variant. Truth is, though, they are grossly overspec'd for home use (if that is your plan) unless you have a niche ULL HFT/HPC use case or want greater hands-on experience for work. If those acronyms made no sense, you don't need a switch like this. Also pay close attention to the noise and power/heat characteristics.. 360W typical power draw with 440W max, and somewhere between 65 and 77 dBA operating noise: Cisco Nexus 3172PQ, 3172TQ, 3172TQ-32T, 3172PQ-XL, and 3172TQ-XL Switches Data Sheet



It sounds like you have already decided about these units. No, seriously, I am not being facetious... Cisco is well known for pulling such shenanigans, so if you are not a fan of their "game" then don't play.

It's fun to play around with discarded data center gear that once cost tens of thousands of dollars.. I just think you will find other gear performs nearly the same for less money. I went the full Brocade/Ruckus route with Chelsio and Intel cards. The Chelsio cards are cheap enough that I can play around with overclocking the ASIC and not break the bank if a card or two burns out. Overclocking, you say? You might know it better as the low-latency (-LL) profile for their T5/T6 cards ;)
Thanks for your perspective. My use case is small business. I'm a big fan of Brocade/Ruckus but need 10Gbase-T and am not very familiar with the market for such switches.

What other gear are you referring to? I've seen Netgear and Mikrotik but am wary of both.
 

blinkenlights

Active Member
May 24, 2019
157
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28
My use case is small business.
Oh! That's a whole different ballgame.. as you probably know, the way this usually works is you give your preferred vendor the requirements, their sales engineers conjure up a purchase order for equipment to meet your requirements. So you hope.

If you are trying to do this on your own, read how Cisco positions those 3172 switches: Cisco Nexus 3000 Series Switches (I had no idea they used the same terms to describe the use cases - I was just guessing :p)

As far as other gear with 48 10Gbase-T ports... I was thinking of Arista's 7050T lineup: https://www.arista.com/assets/data/pdf/Datasheets/7050T_Datasheet.pdf