Data Center Upgrade: 1G Access (Cisco 3560) to 10G Access, What’s the Choice?
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Data Center Upgrade: 1G Access (Cisco 3560) to 10G Access, What’s the Choice?

Posted on by FS.COM

Today’s question is about switch displacement. This is a question that most data centers have to face in a time. Because devices have spent their whole lives there or the growth in data traffic quantity has outpaced their capacity.

User’s Question: What would you guys recommend to replace some Cisco 3560’s? Need to keep budget small, but need to do VLANs and multiple port trunks and having some 10GbE capabilities. This will be used for data center.

Answer: Basically, you’re saying that you’d like to replace some Cisco 3560 switches with new switches that support VLANs, multiple port trunking (usually by using link aggregation control protocol [LACP]) and have some 10G ports, right? And on the premise of “keeping the budget small”.

As shown in the following figure (right), in data center Cisco 3560s are commonly used as access switches that connect servers and applications to the network, and the top-tier switch is usually 3750. Since you need to replace 3560 with an access switch that is capable of 10G, Cisco 3650 would be the closest thing. At the meantime the top-tier switch 3750 is usually displaced by Cisco 3850/Nexus FEX, in essence a change from 1G uplink to 10G uplink.

Cisco Catalyst 3560 to 3650

The change will not bring much trouble to you when you need to install the devices and get support from Cisco Certified Network Assistant. Below are the major differences between Cisco 3560 and the 3650.

Comparision of Cisco Catalyst 3560 and 3650
Feature Catalyst 3560 Catalyst 3650
Optional stacking No Yes (160 Gbps)
Native wireless controller supoort over Cisco IOS Software No Yes
Wireless scalability No 25 AP’s/1000 clients
10G uplinks 2×10 G (field-replaceable unit [FRU]) 8×10 G, 4×10 G or 2×10 G (fixed)
Buffers per 48 port 6 MB 12 MB
L3 feature Full L3 Full L3
Operating system IOS IOS-XE
Multi-core CPU for hosted services No Yes
Maximum number of VLANs 1,024 (L2) 4,094 (L2)
Total number of MAC address 12,000 32,000


The 10G ports of 3650s have three choices. Here are the models that can be configured with different numbers of 10G ports:

10G Ports Models Total 10/100/1000 Ethernet Ports Price (US$)
8x10G SFP+ WS-C3650-12x48UR 48 UPOE (including 12 100/1G/2.5G/5G/10G ports) MSRP: 15,800.00
4x10G SFP+ WS-C3650-12x48UQ 48 UPOE (including 12 100/1G/2.5G/5G/10G ports) MSRP: 12,000.00
WS-C3650-8x24UQ 24 UPOE (including 8 100/1G/2.5G/5G/10G ports) MSRP: 8,600.00
WS-C3650-48PQ 48 PoE+ 3,998.11 – 7,035.33
WS-C3650-48TQ 48 3,569.98 – 6,722.99
2x10G SFP+ WS-C3650-48PD 48 PoE+ 3,220.00 – 7,242.99
WS-C3650-24PD 24 PoE+ 1,883.00 – 3,762.74
WS-C3650-48TD 48 2,900.00 – 5,305.86
WS-C3650-24TD 24 1,783.90 – 3,795.99


Considering the vendors might give you a discount, you could get one 3650 series switch at much lower cost than the MSRP (Manufacture Suggested Retail Price). However, these prices do not include optics or software licenses.

Besides Cisco 3650, I know some alternatives that are also fairly good 10G access switches in practical use. They are completely affordable and can meet all your needs.

The first type is Juniper EX3400 series switches. EX3400 offers up to 4096 VLANs on Layer 2. All of them have four 10G SFP+ ports (and two 40G ports). The PoE ability is also optional.

Model Ports Price (US$) Max. VLANs Total MAC address
EX3400-24T 24*1000BASE-T, 4*SFP+, 2*QSFP+ 959.00 – 1,848.00 4,096 (L2) 32,000
EX3400-24P 24*1000BASE-T PoE+, 4*SFP+, 2*QSFP+ 1,112.00 – 3,255.75
EX3400-48T 48*1000BASE-T, 4*SFP/SFP+, 2*QSFP+ 2,110.00 – 4,866.98
EX3400-48P 48*1000BASE-T PoE+, 4*SFP+, 2*QSFP+ 2,175.80 – 7,256.98
Maximum Switching Capacity: 24T/24P — 288Gbps, 48T/48P — 336Gbps


The second type is Juniper EX4300 series switches.

Model Ports Price (US$) 10G Uplink Module Option Max. VLANs Total MAC address
EX4300-24T 24*1000BASE-T, 4*QSFP+ 1,270.00 – 2,868.95 4-port 10G module with SFP+ optics 4.093 (L2) 64,000
EX4300-24P 24*1000BASE-T PoE+, 4*QSFP+ 1,341.00 – 3,296.89
EX4300-48T 48*1000BASE-T, 4*QSFP+ 3,037.19 – 7,256.98
EX4300-48P 48*1000BASE-T PoE+ 2,449.00 – 5,865.40
EX4300-32F 32*1000BASE SFP, 4*SFP+, 2*QSFP+ 3,225.00 – 12,766.98 8-port 10G module with SFP+ optics
Maximum Switching Capacity: 24T/24P — 448Gbps, 48T/48P — 496Gbps, 32F — 464Gbps


Two other switch models from Arista have similar performance with switches mentioned above. But not many vendors can supply them now and the price is much higher compared with others.

Model Ports Price (US$) Max. VLANs Total MAC address
7010T-48 48*1000BASE-T, 4*SFP+ 38,154.16 – 39,169.33 4,096 (L2) 16,000
7048T 48*1000BASE-T, 4*SFP+ 11,018.95 4,094 (L2) 16,000


One more choice is white-box switch. They can do the same job as the big brand switches mentioned above. Actually, for the same software options, white-box switch is a better option for the price. Below are two switch models from FS.

Model Ports Price (US$) Max. VLANs Total MAC address
S3800-24T4S 24*1000BASE-T, 4*SFP+ 400.00 4,000 (L2) 16,000
S3800-48T4S 48*1000BASE-T, 4*SFP+ 480.00 4,000 (L2) 16,000


So in summary my suggestions for replacing Cisco Catalyst 3560 series switches are Cisco 3650 series, Juniper EX3400 series, Juniper EX4300 series or white-box switches that have equal abilities. They are all cost-effective 10/100/1000BASE-T switches that support multiple VLANs via LACP, and are available with 10G ports.

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