So I currently have two racks where I need a bunch of 10GbE ports (currently using SFP+ TwinAx cables), and I want to replace my current switch.

Basically there are three options I could do:

  1. 1x9504 with the 2x 48x10GbE linecard + 2xFEX for 1GbE copper
  2. same as before just 2x9504 for redundancy
  3. 2x9396PX

While I understand that the 9396PX is designed to be actually a top of the rack switch and the 9504 is the core one, on base price there doesn't seem to be a huge difference even if I add in the FEXes.

Also I understand that the 9504 can have redundant supervisors and fabric modules, so with 2 linecards and running vPC to all servers I should be able to survive a linecard failure.

Which one would you go for?

Nexus 7k would be an option for the core (with the FEX), but I'm a bit afraid Cisco won't push it as much on the roadmap as the 9k line.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ron Trunk, Adam Loveless, Mike Pennington, Teun Vink, Sebastian Wiesinger Mar 23 '15 at 10:22

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • so you goal is to get higher 10G port density? – sdaffa23fdsf Nov 9 '14 at 12:46
  • The answer to this question is a matter of opinion, and as such is off-topic. It's a fine question for chat, though. – Ron Trunk Mar 21 '15 at 15:49

When you are upgrading your switch, you need to understand your current usage, ask more questions, collect more data.

  • How many users are there in your network? [Mac table size]
  • Are you planning to expand your network in the future? [Do you need a topology where you can accommodate FEXs]
  • What is your network topology? [9K switch is deployed in the core]
  • Do you just need 10G connectivity between your IT servers? [If all you have is few servers, you can buy an less expensive box]
  • Do you have Servers running VMs?
  • How much of High Availability is needed in your environment? Are you running banking servers behind these boxes?

Because I had worked in N7K software development team, I have an idea how these boxes are deployed by different customers.


We ended up actually getting 2x9508, each with 2 36-port 40GbE line-cards. With breakouts, this gives us 144 * 4 10GbE ports. Ought to be enough for a while :-)

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