NPE-G2 vs. Sup720-3BXL

Leland E. Vandervort leland at
Fri May 15 11:21:23 CDT 2009

We're running several six 65xx Sup720-3BXL with 3 full transit views and
some 40-odd peers.  We use two NPE-G1s for reflectors and some policy
manipulation.  Also running MPLS in the core to allow for traffic
engineering and EoMPLS between certain services located in different

We're pushing up to between 800M and 1G at peak times (mostly outbound)
with this setup and peak CPU on the 3BXLs is running maybe 30% -- average
though of around 8 to 10%.

Hope this helps....


I'm actually more worried about the distribution layer at the moment as it
relies heavily on STP and HSRP/GLBP for the various vlans and access layer
gunk.  Currently these are 720-3B (non-XL), but looking eventually to
build a business case to upgrade these to VSS1440 to simplify the
architecture as well as providing better resilience and elimination of
STP/HSRP/GLBP limitations between the dist and access layers.  Problem is
the budget side of that... blargh!

Ideally I'd like to go more for the Nexus platform for this part of the
network, given that we're doing a lot of virtualisation etc., but the
downsides with that are primarily the COST of the bloody things, and
secondly the fact that they don't currently support MPLS (planned for
later this year, apparently).


On Fri, 15 May 2009, Paul Stewart wrote:

> We've never pushed a NPE-G2 to 800Mb/s before but I would think they
> would topple over... hopefully someone on here could confirm my
> statement?
> Moving the BGP to the 12008's would be my choice with PRP-2 processors
> if the budget fits.... we're faced with a similar upgrade next year
> possibly moving BGP from a pair of 7606's (Sup720-3BXL) over to a pair
> of GSR's running PRP2 I think - the BGP processing etc. is pushing the
> CPU's too high on the 7600's....
> Someone else might suggest the RSP720's but haven't had them in a
> production environment yet...  we had PRP2's running on 12012 for a
> while and found them rock solid even with older line cards etc...
> Hope this helps a bit...;)
> Paul
> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Storandt [mailto:dstorandt at]
> Sent: Friday, May 15, 2009 11:08 AM
> To: NANOG list
> Subject: NPE-G2 vs. Sup720-3BXL
> We're stuck in an engineering pickle, so some experience from this
> crew would be useful in tie-breaking...
> We operate a business-grade FTTx ISP with ~75 customers and 800Mbps of
> Internet traffic, currently using 6509/Sup2s for core routing and port
> aggregation. The MSFC2s are under stress from 3x full route feeds,
> pared down to 85% to fit the TCAM tables. One system has a FlexWAN
> with an OC3 card and it's crushing the CPU on the MSFC2. System tuning
> (stable IOS and esp. disabling SPD) helped a lot but still doesn't
> have the power to pull through. Hardware upgrades are needed...
> We need true full routes and more CPU horsepower for crunching BGP
> (+12 smaller peers + ISIS). OC3 interfaces are going to be mandatory,
> one each at two locations. Oh yeah, we're still a larger startup
> without endless pockets. Power, rack space, and SmartNet are not
> concerns at any location (on-site cold spares). We may need an
> upstream OC12 in the future but that's a ways out and not a concern
> here.
> Our engineering team has settled on three $20k/node options:
> - Sup720-3BXLs with PS and fan upgrades
> - Sup2s as switches + ISIS + statics and no BGP, push BGP edge routing
> off to NPE-G2s across a 2-3Gbps port-channel
> - Sup2s as switches + ISIS + statics and no BGP, push BGP edge routing
> off to a 12008 with E3 engines across a 2-3Gbps port-channel.
> Ideas and constructive opinions welcome, especially software and
> stability-related.
> Many thanks,
> -Dave
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