NPE-G2 vs. Sup720-3BXL

David Storandt dstorandt at
Fri May 15 21:20:28 CDT 2009

So I figure a summary is an order, with a whole array of choices
pitched so far...

- Sup720-3BXL works for light-duty premium ISP services, decent CPU
for BGP and an Ethernet hardware throughput monster. Decent enough for
our deployment scenario at least. No obvious solution for the
FlexWAN/OC3 but could easily be re-integrated with a stronger MSFC CPU
to back it up, assuming the IOS-of-the-week doesn't have issues. The
pesky OC3 could be pawned off to a dedicated G1/G2 router too along
with any oddball <=OC3 stuff our sales guys dream up.
- RSP720-3CXL is the best of all worlds option, if we had double the
budget to work with. Meh.
- ASR1002 is a hardware-assisted overhaul to the 7200/G2. Telco
interface options are much better than 7200s, good for OC12s and
OC48s. Using GoogleFu product pricing... a ASR1002 router with a SPA
OC3, 5Gbps ESP, and base software runs in the $28-30k range +
SmartNet. Beware the modular licensing model in addition to IOS
editions. Maybe a bit early yet as a core router as some of the
software is still getting bugs ironed out.
- Vyatta was proposed as an alternative system, probably best
architected out of the mainstream traffic flows (no hardware
forwarding), say a BGP route reflector or GBE edge router, similar
argument to a 7200/G[1|2]. I can't say I'm familiar with the software,
but the cost savings of premium x86/x64 hardware and 8x PCI-x serving
a few 10GBE interfaces + built-in GBEs is intriguing, especially
paired against our budget and relative Cisco costs. A spec'd out 1U
Dell box with dual power, 8x cores, 4GB, RAID1 SATA, and 2x 10GBE
XFP+2x GBE built-in came in under $7k with CPU headroom to burn.
Vyatta doesn't support ISIS though, best I can tell, but may not have
to... Maybe yet-another Linux router distro doomed to fail? Worth a
lab test internally on some demo hardware.
- Mixed thoughts about 7304 hardware. Hardware forwarding quality vs.
software and interface selection.
- Lots of fans for the 12000 series. Stick with the E3 (~2.5Gbps) and
E5 (~10Gbps) line cards for compatibility with XR software and best
line card performance. Our team liked the variety of SONET options
available too for our central office deployments, even though the
systems are power and space hungry. ...and if you can afford them (the
12008/GRP-B being the relative exception).
- 7200/G2s are great for <1Gbps throughput. Premium services cut into
the performance dramatically, being a fully software-based forwarding
platform. Don't bond interfaces looking for more throughput,
architecture limitations actually decrease throughput.
- Juniper MX series? A budget wildcard but indeed a worthy platform

You could break this list into "routers" and "switches", which in
itself spurs the philosophical/pragmatic architecture discussion that
got us the impasse to start with. Many thanks to all who've responded
with real-life successes, battle wounds, and horror stories. All very


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