Chassis vs. Stacked Switch Solution

Errol explains the top five considerations you should keep in mind when deciding between a chassis vs. a stacked switch solution.


Hi, I'm Errol and today I'm going to talk about my top five considerations when trying to choose between a chassis solution and a stacked switching solution.

Both of them have similarities. They both have a lot of ports. They both have redundancy and they both have centralized management where you can get to a lot of ports from one place and configure them all.

In most situations in a network, people will put the chassis in the core and the switches on the edge. That may work for some people but maybe not all people. All networks are different. Here we are with the top five considerations I believe would help you make a decision.

My number one consideration is price. Everybody's concerned about price, whether something is going to be too expensive, is it going to be cheap enough but still manage your network. Chassis tend to be more expensive, there's a lot of parts in it, you're talking about power supplies, fan trays, the blades that go into it so it's going to be a more expensive price than the switches.

That brings me into number two where port count. How many ports do you need? Generally they say the magic number is 144, where once you hit 144 in a stacked switching solution, it's more economic to go to a chassis solution where you'll make up the money somehow.

My number three consideration would be reliability. Chassis tend to have better air flow so they won't break down as much as may be a switch might break down. Power supplies, some switches, some of the more advanced switches nowadays have removable power supplies but chassis have bigger power supplies, many options for power supplies and also multiple power supplies. Some chassis have six power supplies, some have three as opposed to where a switch may only have one removable or two removable for redundancy.

Also reliability, a dead switch, when a switch goes down in a stack you pretty much have to take it out of the rack, put a new one in, connect it back up. With a chassis, a lot of the blades are hot swappable, you just pull it out, put the new one in and you're up and going again.

Number four would be features. Chassis tend to have more advanced features on that some switches may not have. There's chassis that you can put a firewall in to do things with, they just have bigger processes, they can handle more.

My number five consideration would be longevity. Chassis tend to have a longer life span than switches, you've seen things like the Cisco 6500 around for years. Whereas a new technology comes out with a switch, they come out with a new switch when gig first came out, they were 10/100 switches, there's nothing you can do about it, you have to get a new switch. Whereas with a chassis you just take out the blade that's 10/100, you put a 10/100,000. Same thing goes for gig to 10 gig.

That's been my top five considerations on trying to decide between a chassis solution and a switched stacked solution. Hope you enjoyed the video. Thank you for viewing.