Advice regarding Cisco/Juniper/HP

Pavel Skovajsa pavel.skovajsa at
Sat Jun 19 09:52:21 CDT 2010

To emphasise more this subject, the technical support HP Procurve is
providing (for free) is more consumer level and in my opinion is one of the
key differentiators from teams like Cisco TAC. Here is a short laundry list
of my experience:

For an example a typical phone call to their help desk (only way to raise
tickets with them, at least if you want a response in less they 7 days :)
ends by the help desk (level 0 technical personnel) "advising" you to
upgrade first, and only IF after that the issue persists they will open a
ticket. The fact that you are speaking about DC switches with 200 servers
does not seem to matter.

Another example is when troubleshooting spontaneous switch reloads, the help
desk usually replies by saying that it "sometimes happens", suggesting to
"wait a while" to see whether it will reload next time.....which I found

Also (you already noticed) the 0th and 1st level are not very technically
competent, basically they act as a firewall to upper support lines. To have
the ticket "escalated" to the 2nd line they will let you fill a huge form
about your whole network, with tons of irrelevant data in it - a formal
barrier. Once you get there, you might actually get to troubleshooting and
talk to people who really understand your issue - kudos to those. The only
problem is that it takes about a week to get to them....

Another area which is a big HP Procurve disadvantage is that their CLI does
not have too much troubleshooting capabilities. Things like extended
ping/traceroute, extended telnet (source interfaces, packet size, sweep
size) do not exist or exist only on specific platforms, not speaking about
the fact that you cannot telnet to other TCP port then 23....
Also we cannot do "show ip arp <IP address>" and only do "show arp" and then
manually search for the IP in the 10 page output.......which tells a lot
about the people who are coding the software.
Another one....the include|exclude grep statements either do not exist or
only apply to certain commands like "show run"

In light of above I don't think you would be surprised with the fact that
there are almost no debug commands and the logging facility displays
unneeded messages (about lacp starting during end-user port flaps), and does
not display messages about OSPF neighbor going down....

Bear in mind is that all above applies to my own opinion on HP Procurve
not-yet-merged with 3com , so not sure how the situation changed in the
meanwhile with the new H3C products.

On the other side I would certainly recommend HP Procurve in simple
access/edge layer scenarios, certainly not as a DC distribution layer
switch, not due to its technical drawbacks, but mostly due to operational
difficulties described above.

-pavel skovajsa

On Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 7:56 PM, James Braid <jamesb at> wrote:

> On 17/06/10 20:02, Carl Rosevear wrote:
> > The main problem with HP switches and their 'free software upgrades'
> > is that there are regularly bugs and regressions in the software and
> > their solution is to have you 'oh just update the software'...  this
> > is not always practical in a production environment.
> This has been our experience too. It's nice having "free support" and
> "free software upgrades" but when their support consists of "upgrade to
> this latest unreleased firmware and hope it fixes your problems", I'd
> rather be paying a vendor for support... that said I think the 5412's
> are OK for edge switches.

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