Is there an appetite for merchant silicon to support branch level switching?


Has Cumulus considered extending their solution offerings to the branch? I have been evaluating a number of SD-WAN vendors and most of their demos trail off with connecting their product to "some switch" via dot1q sub-interfaces. There is value in being able to connect a switching product to an SD-WAN appliance and be able to benefit from ZTP, automation & orchestration, and PoE. The smallest hardware switch that fits this bill is the AS4610-54P, but even then it is still a bit too much for most branch offices. A more modestly sized appliance at 8 to 24 1 Gbps interfaces that supports PoE on most to all interfaces would be ideal. I could also see a "trimmed" down version of the Cumulus NOS since not at all features that are required for data center operations are needed at the branch... but could be if campus fabrics are considered.

3 replies

Userlevel 4
Hey Mike,

Did you mean to lock this post? It is hidden (not sure if you meant to do that?). I have not considered branch as much as campus but the margins are even more thin in campus then they are in data center. I pushed really hard, and so did certain customers and thats why we offer a PoE switch at all. To be honest demand is not there, it sells OK but its hard to compete against L2 only switches with no features when no one cares if its oversubscribed. I think campus/branch/etc will make a lot of sense in the future but need to conquer data center first 🙂 A lot of people in campus and branch expect features we don't really do (or sometimes believe in) like switch stacking. I think if the PoE switch starts selling is droves, OR we have a big demand from a customer (200 switches or more) for a new ASIC it would definitely happen. Also taking a 48 port switch down to 24 on some of these ASICs we support doesn't really save enough money. You might knock off 200-300 dollars off a 1500-3500 dollar price tag depending on your vendor. We would probably need to look at supporting a non-data center ASIC that is more inexpensive and we just don't have the business case right now to do that. I recommend letting your SE know what your appetite is to absorb those switches and what features you would 'have' to have to buy them. We listen and track customer demand so we will take very good notes.

Honestly, I was a bit curious about the lock feature. Only problem is I can't figure out how to unlock it! If you can open this post up for the community that would be awesome. Otherwise I can re-post since this is good information for anyone that is interested. At any rate, your response is very enlightening! I think from a campus or branch perspective Cumulus already addresses most of the common features required for those environments. In my view it is just a matter of having the "right" hardware for those locations, but as you pointed out it comes down to customer demand. Good luck conquering the data center! And if I have any more bright ideas or questions I'll be sure to leave my posts unlocked 😉
Userlevel 3
Hi Mike, I unlocked your post, so it's now public.

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