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Setting the record straight: Fallacies of Cisco SMB Managed Switch Comparison Testing Report

By Rebecca Humphress, Global Product Marketing Manager, HP Networking

 

rebecca_humpress.jpgLet me say this right upfront: Cisco sponsored a test report that is misleading. Its basic flaw is that Cisco was comparing apples-to-oranges.  This report attempts to compare Cisco small and medium business (SMB) switches to switches from D-Link and from HP Networking.

 

Instead of comparing Cisco SMB switches to HP Networking SMB switches, most of the comparisons were focused on HP Networking Enterprise-Class switches.  It is like Car and Driver comparing the gas consumption of a Mini Cooper to a Ford Super Duty.  They are completely different vehicles meant for different purposes. 

 

Network switch report details—this one was an a apples-to-oranges comparison

 

This Miercom test report compared Cisco SF300, SG300, SG200 switches to the following HP products: 1810G, 2510G, 2520G, 2620, and 2810G.  Cisco positions their 300 & 200 switch series as small business products, but within the report, Cisco is mostly comparing these products to HP products that are enterprise-class products.  For instance, the HP 2620 is a popular enterprise-class switch with a choice of management tools (CLI, GUI-based, or web-based), advanced QoS functionality, and lifetime warranty† that separate it from SMB switches like Cisco’s. 

 

In addition to incorrect comparisons, the Miercom report has some interesting definitions of their testing cases.  For instance, in this report, Miercom has an “Energy Efficiency” test which is defined as IEEE 802.3az EEE (Energy Efficient Ethernet) and Cisco’s Short Reach features.  Those two features are not the only energy saving capabilities that should be looked at when purchasing a switch.   When purchasing a switch, you should take into account the full power consumption of a switch as that will lead to their long term Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) along with the feature set and warranty for the product. 

 

The table on Page 22 of the report is a perfect example of how total power consumption is key.  Miercom compares the SF300-48P to the HP 2620-48-PoE+.  First off, the power usage of the 2620 is less than the SF300 without any “energy savings capabilities” (45.3W in comparison to the 2620 43.7W of power).  In addition, the 2620 has the ability to support PoE+ vs just PoE on the 300 Series allowing for a larger variety of devices to be connected to the switches.  2620 also has the ability to allocate and manage PoE/PoE+ power for more efficient energy savings through various standard-based methods.  In addition to this, that same table compares non-PoE based skus to PoE-based skus that is not an accurate comparison either. 

 

Consider instead this apples-to-apples comparison table

 

Instead of trying to compare apples-to-oranges as seen in the report, I would like to provide a comparison table between the products that is more apples-to-apples.  Below is a table of features comparing the Cisco 2960 family to the HP 2510, 2520, 2620 and 2910 product families.  The Cisco 2960 Lan Lite product line compares with the HP 2510 & 2520 Series, and the Cisco 2960 Lan Base product line compares with the HP 2620 & 2910 Series

 

HP 2510 & 2520 Comparison

 

 

HP 2510

HP 2520

Cisco 2960 Lan Lite

Customer Type

Enterprise Campus Access

Enterprise Campus Access

Enterprise Campus Access

Speed

10/100 & Gig

10/100 & Gig

10/100 & Gig

Ports

24, 48

8, 24

8, 24, 48

PoE

N/A

Yes

Sku dependent

Management

Fully Managed (SNMP, CLI, or graphical user interface)

Fully Managed (SNMP, CLI, or graphical user interface)

Fully Managed (SNMP, CLI, or graphical user interface)

Energy Savings

Fanless skus

LED power savings,

unused port power down, fanless or variable speed fans

Energywise available as add-on, unused port power down, fanless or variable speed fans

Miercom Green Certified

Yes

Yes

No

Max Power w/100% Throughput & Max PoE loads (24-port skus)

N/A

257W

433W

sFlow

Yes

Yes

No

Denial-of-service

attack filtering

No

Yes

No

IPv6 Host

No

Yes

No

Discovery

LLDP

LLDP, LLDP-MED

CDP, LLDP

Warranty

Lifetime†

Lifetime†

Limited Lifetime

Phone Support

As long as you own the product†

As long as you own the product†

Add-on Service

 

HP 2620 & 2910 Comparison

 

HP 2620/2615

HP 2910/2915

Cisco 2960 Lan Base

Customer Type

Enterprise Campus Access

Enterprise Campus Access

Enterprise Campus Access

Speed

10/100

Gig

10/100 & Gig

Ports

8, 24, 48

8, 24, 48

8, 24, 48

Management

Fully Managed (SNMP, CLI, or graphical user interface)

Fully Managed (SNMP, CLI, or graphical user interface)

Fully Managed (SNMP, CLI, or graphical user interface)

Energy Savings

fanless or variable speed fans; 2620 has 80 Plus Silver certified power supplies

unused port power down, fanless or variable speed fans

Energywise available as add-on, unused port power down, fanless or variable speed fans

Miercom Green Certified

Yes

Yes

No

Max Power w/100% Throughput & Max PoE loads (48-port skus)

448W

556W

2960 10/100 = 460W

2960 G = 466W

sFlow

Yes

Yes

No

L3 Capabilities

Static & RIP Routing

Static & RIP Routing

Static

QoS

8 queues

8 queues

4 queues

Warranty

Lifetime†

Lifetime†

Limited Lifetime

 

Please see the helpful testing and certification report below to find out more about HP products:


 

>> Learn more about HP networking products:

 

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HP warranty includes repair or replacement of hardware for as long as you own the product, with next business day advance replacement (available in most countries). The disk drive included with HP AllianceOne Advanced Services and Services zl Modules, HP Threat Management Services zl Module, HP AllianceOne Extended zl Module with Riverbed Steelhead, HP MSM765zl Mobility Controller and HP Survivable Branch Communication zl Module powered by Microsoft Lync has a five-year hardware warranty. For details, refer to the Software license and hardware warranty statements at www.hp.com/networking/warranty.

Comments
Billy Gibbons(anon) | ‎03-28-2012 03:11 AM

This response is really poor. Please read the mircom report again. You are embarrasing the company with your quick to respond and not looking into the details. This report truely shows how Cisco small business switches are competing big time with, not only, small switches but enterprise as well.

george ferns(anon) | ‎03-29-2012 10:13 PM

I find it interesting that Cisco did not include HP's 19xx range of SMB switches that do include the Layer 3 features found on the Cisco SF and SG300 switches. A little too selective to skew results Cisco's way. Would also be interested to see how the Cisco switches perform under load, particularly when routing or handling multicast traffic.

rebeccahumphress ‎03-30-2012 01:07 AM - edited ‎03-30-2012 01:19 AM

Billy - I can see why you might think that the comparison within the report is accurate, but in reality, Cisco has done an excellent job cherry picking switches and functionality to show in this report. Cisco has switch product lines for both enterprise and SMB customers.  According to their website: http://www.cisco.com/cisco/web/solutions/small_business/products/routers_switches/index.html-tab-Swi..., the focused products in the Miercom report, the Cisco 200 series & 300 series, are considered Small Business Switches by Cisco.  HP also has switches focused for SMB customers which include the HP 1410, HP 1810, HP 1910 Switch Series. 

 

In the report which was Cisco sponsored, Cisco chose the comparative products to their advantage, ignoring HP Networking’s market leading smart managed switches, the HP 1910 and 1905 Switch Series offerings. The HP 1910 switch series is HP's advanced Basic Layer 3 smart managed gigabit switch offering designed for small businesses looking for key enhanced features in an easy-to-administer solution. With features like ACLs, Static Routing, and a significant number of VLANs, the HP 1910 Switch Series would most closely match the Cisco 300 Series. Also, the HP 1810G Switch Series would most closely match the Cisco 200 Series.

In addition, HP Networking, D-Link and Netgear are the top three vendors in the web-managed switching market comprising nearly 75% of the market among them, and HP Networking is the #1 vendor overall with 30.8% ports shipped market share compared to Cisco which is the #4 ranked vendor with just 10.2% ports shipped market share according to Dell’Oro’s February 2011 Market Share Report. Miercom themselves have previously certified HPN switches as energy efficient, including the HP 1910 series as seen in the below linked report.

 

Report:
http://www.miercom.com/2010/09/hp-v1910-48g-switch/


hp.com/networking/1910

hp.com/networking/1905

Anne L(anon) | ‎02-06-2014 11:24 PM

I thought Cisco was the company that sold food in bulk to many restaurants. Maybe that's spelled differently. I'm glad the record was set straight, though!

SwGuy | ‎02-27-2014 06:57 AM

The biggest argument here is that HP 1910 is a better comparison. See how it compares:

https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-40056

 

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