General discussion


Chassis vs. Stack

By robert.t.moss ·
We're starting to plan a move to a new multi-story office facility. Does anyone have any insight on using a chassis based switch versus individual stackable switches on each floor. We'll have 2 communications closets and 350 to 400 ports per floor.

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by mjd420nova In reply to Chassis vs. Stack

Stackable is usually the best approach, it lends
itself to expansion easier, and is simpler to

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by jj2000 In reply to Chassis vs. Stack

Hi Robert,
Given the number of ports per floor, I would definitely go with a chassis-based solution. In general, you'll have a faster fabric, more ports and flexibility if/when you upgrade to Gig and/or PoE.

Most stackables have about 48 ports, so serving 350+ connections per floor would be a bear both for space and management.

We're an HP Procurve Elite Partner, so the following applies to this product line. HP's edge stackables & chassis all have lifetime warranty and lifetime firmware updates. Their chassis can be as small as 3-U or large as 7-U. On their 5300s and 4200s, you could have 96-192 (10/100) ports. With their new 5400s, you could have up to 288 (10/100/1000 PoE) ports per chassis. We prefer HP because of their price, relaibility and features. Procurve is all standards-based which makes it run beautifully in heterogeneous environments.

I would also consider management aspects- a lot of the less expensive stackables are unmanaged. Even if you don't currently have needs for full L3 routing, VLANs, PoE, trunking, etc- you may find in a year or two your needs have changed.

It's much easier to start with something that can grow and not have to replace your infrastructure in a couple of years.


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Chassis vs. the Stack solution

by markross In reply to Chassis vs. Stack

What you have is a common question without a common answer. Most folks select the chassis solution due to the flexibility it gives to future growth and needs. The stack solution, though cheaper in most cases, will not offer the amount of flexibility (ie. VoIP) as the chassis. Look at what you use today, be it Cisco, Nortel, 3Com, HP, etc., look at the services you provide, your network topology, and lastly, what your project growth areas will be. Then you can do a RFP from your vendors of choice. This should bring forth a best of class design from each for you to compare. Then sit down with your team and decide which design best meets your needs and costs. Good luck!

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by robert.t.moss In reply to Chassis vs. the Stack sol ...

Thanks to everyone for the input. At this point we're stuck with one brand of gear (edict from on high). And as usual it looks like the cost will drive the solution.

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