Recommended L2 switches for a new IXP

Nick Hilliard nick at
Mon Jan 12 15:43:26 UTC 2015

On 12/01/2015 06:35, Manuel Marín wrote:
> We are trying to build a new IXP in some US Metro areas where we have
> multiple POPs and I was wondering what do you recommend for L2 switches. I
> know that some IXPs use Nexus, Brocade, Force10 but I don't personally have
> experience with these switches. It would be great if you can share your
> experience and recommendations.

For a startup IXP, it would probably not be sensible to use chassis based
kit due to cost / real estate issues.

Some personal opinions:

- I have a strong preference for using only open bridging protocols.  This
excludes out vendor proprietary fabrics (VDX, OTV, etc).  This is important
for when you do fabric upgrades on multi-site IXPs.

- You will probably want a product which supports sflow, as peer-to-peer
traffic graphs are massively useful.  Most vendors support sflow on most of
their products with the notable exception of Cisco where only the Nexus 3K
team were enlightened enough to shim it in.  I haven't yet come across a L2
netflow implementation which works well enough to be an adequate
substitute, but ymmv.

- VPLS based fabrics may be important if you have an interesting topology.
 If it is important to you, then you will need a VPLS implementation which
will do proper load balancing over multiple links.  Most don't and this is
a very hard problem to handle on smaller kit.

- There is no excuse for vendor transceiver locking or transceiver
crippling (e.g. refusing to show DDM values) and vendors who do this need
to be made aware that it's not an acceptable business proposition.

- you need kit which will support Layer 2 ACLs and Layer 3 ACLs on layer 2

- you should get in with the open-ix crowd and chat to people over pizza or
peanuts.  You will learn a lot from in an afternoon of immersion with peers.


More information about the NANOG mailing list