Aruba vs Cisco Switches 101
When it comes to network switches, the variety of options can be overwhelming. There’s a specific switch for every niche networking role, and there are a dozen different brands making that one class of switch.
Out of all of those options, two leading brands are preferred in many professional networks: Aruba and Cisco. They are industry giants and leaders in many respects. When comparing them directly, it’s clear that you are getting different sets of benefits depending on which you choose.
Aruba is one of the leading names in networking manufacturing. The brand is known for making cost-effective switches that are easy to deploy and manage. Aruba Switches all work together well, and they tend to work well with other brands too.
When ease of deployment is a leading concern, Aruba is often the best brand in the business. Let’s consider some specific pros and cons to really see how Aruba compares directly to Cisco.
Pros of Aruba Switches
Perhaps more than anything, Aruba switches are known for providing high cost-efficiency and a great return on investment. The switches are stable and reliable, and they provide great compatibility with other devices. Despite that, they are not in the highest echelons of price points.
Additionally, Aruba switches come with great customer service and support. The open architecture is easy to work with, and the standardized Aruba Central Console is the same management software for the entire Aruba lineup. This makes for easy deployment and network maintenance.
Cons of Aruba Switches
When compared directly to Cisco, Aruba’s greatest shortcoming is the variety in the product lineup. There are a lot of Aruba switches, and they fill the vast majority of roles you might need, but no one beats Cisco when it comes to product diversity.
Another con is that the user-friendly design sacrifices a few points when it comes to admin control. You have a lot of control over Aruba switches, but when you need to get creatively custom with network management, the simplified control software can create frustration points.
Lastly, even though Aruba switches are more affordable than Cisco switches, they’re still not in the cheap category. When price point matters the most, Aruba is a great choice compared to Cisco switches.
Cisco has been the leading name in networking equipment pretty much since the beginning of the internet. The brand is known for high levels of reliability and leading-edge professional control. There are plenty of cases where Cisco Switches are the obvious best choice, but Cisco isn’t a flat winner in all comparisons.
Pros of Cisco Switches
Cisco is easily the industry leader in scalability. When you need a network that can grow indefinitely, it’s worthwhile to invest in Cisco from the beginning.
At the same time, Cisco offers the widest selection of switches, so you can meet exact performance specifications for even the most specific networks.
Cisco also offers the highest levels of reliability in terms of uptime, product life, and even security.
Behind all of these great advantages also lies the largest support infrastructure and community in all of networking.
Cons of Cisco Switches
Cisco is an industry leader in a lot of ways, and the company charges premiums for that. In almost any direct comparison, Cisco switches will cost more than Aruba switches.
Cisco also presents problems when trying to add nodes to a network. Cisco switches use different control systems, and not all Cisco models work well together. That’s to say nothing of mixing Cisco with other brands. It creates difficulties, to say the least.
Because of these complications, Cisco networks don’t just cost more for equipment purchases - Deployment costs are also usually higher as it takes more time and expertise to build high-end Cisco networks. Keeping this in mind, along with Cisco's stringent licensing agreements and costs, Cisco switches and equipment can rack up the total IT project costs quickly.
Additional Learning Center Resources
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- Best Way to Connect Multiple Switches
- Should I upgrade from 3750X switch to the 3850 switch?
- Cisco Catalyst Switches Product Guide
- Basics of Network Switches
- What are the Differences between Cisco 3650 and 3750X Switches?
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