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Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

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Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

Hi There,

 

I am looking to replace our Catalyst 3750 switch which is at the heart of our network.

Out network has about 30 servers and 100 nodes and 5 VLAN's.

 

I would like to ask if anybody knows if we could replace this Catalyst 3750 switch by an Meraki switch.

 

We allready use Meraki for our wireless network and firewall gateway. I am curious to know if a Meraki switch is powerfull enough to act as a core switch with multiple VLAN's.

Here in the Netherlands (Utrecht area) is hard to find someone with expertise about Meraki switches so if anyone knows somebody then i'm very interested.

 

Thanks in advance.

Regards,

Jack

9 REPLIES
Here to help

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

Yes, Meraki can replace 3750 Catalyst switch. Take a look at their MS400 series, they are aggregation switches that can also be stacked to give you the necessary port density for your use case.

https://meraki.cisco.com/lib/pdf/meraki_datasheet_ms400-series.pdf

Meraki Employee

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

Certainly, the MS250 and higher are full L3 switches and can support L3 routing (like OSPF) or interVLAN routing which it sounds like what you're after.  They are physically stackable and line rate on every port including the uplink and stack ports.  You will see MANY benefits from running Meraki MR APs on Meraki MS switches.  Topology features (basically a real-time interactive visio diagram), virtual stacking (make every port on every switch part of a single virtual chassis for very simple mass-management), unified single pane of glass management and troubleshooting, unified change log, unified event logs, unified reporting, single support team, license co-termination, configuration templates (including combined wired+wireless templates), and even unified (wired+wireless) network policy enforcement, just to name a handful of benefits.

 

Here's a models comparison: https://meraki.cisco.com/products/switches/ms250-24#compare

 

Basically, MS210/225 are L2 with Static Routing and DHCP Relay.  MS210 is just like the MS225 with Static Routing and DHCP Relay, and the main difference from MS210 to MS225 is 1G vs 10G uplink ports.  Also, MS210 and MS225 can be cross-stacked.  MS250 brings in DHCP Server, OSPF Routing, interVLAN routing, PIM-SM multicast routing, Warm Spare.  MS350 brings Higher Performance L3 Routing, UPoE, mGig, 160Gbps Stacking, Modular Fans.  MS210/225 have one power supply and an external RPS connector.  MS250 and MS350 have redundant hot-swappable power supplies and ship with a single power supply.  Stackable MS switches can all stack up to 8 switches in a single stack, and remember you ALWAYS have virtual stacking regardless if they are physically stacked or not.  

 

Then you also have your fiber aggregation switches, MS410 (1G SFP) and MS425 (10G SFP+) in 16 and 32-port form factors with 40G stacking or uplinks.

 

Hope that helps!

A model citizen

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

Absolutely yes! We have 2 MS 425-32s in our network that replaced our Cisco 4500X. It is definitely doable.

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Kind of a big deal

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

As long as you are doing basic routing - yes.

 

Potential things you might be using that you can't get with Meraki:

  • More than 256 ACL entries
  • VRF Support
  • Meraki MS250 and above have OSPF, but not BGP, EIGRP, RIP, etc.
  • Policy routing
  • IPv6 routing and IPv6 dynamic routing protocols

I most frequently replace Cisco 3750's with MS425-16's - because they are an all 10Gbe switch so the customer gets a 10Gbe upgrade.  Note that you can put redundant power supplies into an MS425 so don't forget to order them.  I think a network core should use redundant power.

https://meraki.cisco.com/products/switches/ms425-16

I then pair this up with MS225's at the access layer - because they have 10Gbe uplinks.

https://meraki.cisco.com/products/switches/ms225-48

 

Where cost is a big concern I tend to use the MS250.  Note that the MS250 can also take redundant power supplies but you need to order them.

https://meraki.cisco.com/products/switches/ms225-48

 

 

The MS250-24X is also an interesting option.  It has 4 x 10Gbe SFP+ ports, but also has 8 x MGig ports.  MGig allows you to plug in 10GBaseT connections and 10GBaseT runs over ordinary copper.

https://meraki.cisco.com/products/switches/ms350-24x

Getting noticed

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

In my experience wouldn't recommend it.

 

We have had bad luck routing in our environment with the MS420s in several of our networks.  Doesn't seem to matter if it's just inter-VLAN routing with all routes connected or static.  Stay away from OSPF on the switches.  Stay away from Warm spare on the switches, too.

 

We had numerous support cases on routing for more than a year. Devices would just stop being able to reach other VLANs until you pinged the device from the MS420 core.  After that they would be reachable again. Didn't matter what kind of device: PCs, IP phones, printers, etc.

 

We have never been able to see the Warm Spare work in our environment.  Even powered off the Primary and the secondary never took over.  Warm spare will also bite you if you make to many static routing changes too fast.  It will try to failover to the secondary, update the primary route table, then fail back.  Adding routes too quickly ended causing and STP freakout that took out all routing on the LAN for 30 minutes.

 

Upgrading past 8.5 would breaks one location's PBX and IP phones. We would ended up backing out the upgrade three times.  We are going to attempt another upgrade to the latest version after the holidays.   Various betas along the way didn't help.

 

We had an issue this week with a MS420 core forgot how to route. Looked fine in dashboard, but clients had issues.  Rebooted the switch and everything started working. Meraki support basically said upgrade or reboot.

 

With OSPF, we had it inject routes they were set not to be advertised. Yet downstream Cisco routers would show the route injected by the Meraki switch.

 

We have some MS425s, but we have left them in the network as a layer 2 only aggregation point.  Been afraid to try them since the issues with the MS420s.  We were thinking about going back to Cat switches for cores.

 

The routing MX appliances is more reliable. The APs are great. But the switches aren't that mature yet.

Building a reputation

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

If you have network engineers who properly understand Cisco Catalyst switches I wouldn't go for Meraki switches in your Core.

 

From my experience:

 

1 - you don't have the same visibility and granularity as in Cisco catalyst (very basic commands in the GUI, don't expect as much as in catalyst).

2- Your configs are in the cloud, very fancy and nice for backups I agree, but if you need to troubleshoot something or see the performance just after implementing any change you can get easily frustrated as the config change could take up to 1 or 2 minutes since you save your new settings.

3 - If you have Cisco switches running the default STP mode, PVST, you will have an interoperability problem, Meraki doesn't support PVST, therefore your only option would be to change Cisco to MST or RSTP (major change). Update: I just saw that even RSTP can cause issues, so the only option is moving Cisco to MST Smiley Happy

4- Warm Spare is not mature enough, and the Stack mode is not working as in Cisco, there's root election between the stack members. 

5 - Meraki Support, from my personal experience, need to improve a lot to be a real support center (or maybe I am just used t work with Cisco TAC which is really good from my point of view).

6- You will find cosmetic issues that can be very annoying when using it, such as having the connectivity bar in an aggregate port sometimes green some others white saying 'no connectivity' just because you have some members shutdown (it could lead into confusion). I guess that this is probably the less important issue and hopefully in next versions they will fix it, but it is just something else among multiple things now.

 

As a positive thing I can say that, besides the backup thing, it is quite convenient for device replacements and you can configure your network in advance before even connecting the devices.

 

Here to help

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

I did configure our cisco switches to be in MST mode and still experienced (and continue experiencing) issues - had to break apart all the cisco to meraki port channels to temporarily resolve network crashes - we had major issues with lacp between netapp and meraki - according to meraki a popular config is with nexus level core and meraki distro / access - we don't have nexus so I can't talk to that point. 3750 and 3850s don't play nice ....

Building a reputation

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

that's weird, I engaged Cisco some months ago to test with a spare switch (2960), and converting it to MST worked for me so I am dealing with my production environment now to put it as MST too. what issues are you facing exactly with the port-channels?

Getting noticed

Re: Can a Meraki switch replace a Catalyst 3750 core switch?

I concur will Zilla- it can but it shouldn't.  The simplicity of Meraki devices are their greatest liability.  When sh*t hits the fan you cannot manage them and make configuration changes on the fly in the same ways you can with Cisco equipment.

 

You can't troubleshoot what you can't see, and if a Meraki can't get to the cloud, you cannot troubleshoot it.

 

When everything is working well, their simplicity is their greatest strength.

 

 

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