Network Advise: Router Vs Layer 3 Switch

Hi all,

I have a question regarding design of a network.

I currently have an hp series core switch 5400 series layer 3 switch.

I'm currently redesigning my network configuration to allow all my different subnets and vlans to talk to each other as i upgrade my analogue network to digital.

I understand that layer 3 can do the job of routing however am unsure of whether to have a separate router, or utilise the layer 3 technology in my switch.

I have a private ethernet 100Mb/s WAN link (also being fed a 10mb/s net connection) that comes in to a small router: http://routerboard.com/RB2011UiAS-RM : this will be used to feed camera streams out to a variety of devices on a vpn, mobile tables etc.

I also have a mesh & point to point wireless network on it's on subnet and vlan coming into my server room, along with a hardwired fibre network, again separate sub and vlan coming to my server room. These are on a variety of different switches, not that it matters. The core switch is a separate sub again, with servers & storage connected.

What i'm wondering is whether i invest in a router on a stick solution, with a higher capacity to do my intervlan and subnet routing, or whether i have the hp core switch configured to do that side of the routing?

I have one vendor advising to use the switch, another suggesting that a router on a stick is the way to go.

switch vendor advises that the switch will route faster.

router vendor advises that you should keep the two separate, and having a stand-alone router will allow for easier configuration & fault rectification.

Each vlan has approximately 300-400Mb/s running into the server room.

Any suggestions or advise would be highly appreciated. I can provide more information if required. Have two biased opinions shooting my way.

Router vendor is also suggesting to create an additional core/stackable solution with a brocade solution.

Hp vendor is suggesting not to bother and to install another chassis style switch in my wifi/hardwired incoming rack.

HP will probably be a fair bit more expensive than brocade, and would give long term capabilties. Brocade is probably going to be much cheaper, and offer stackable redundancies once i get round to it.

Help?


router vendor advises that you should keep the two separate, and having a stand-alone router will allow for easier configuration & fault rectification.

I may be a little old-school, but this is still my preferred approach. If you network is small and your routing requirements are just to create a couple of simple static routes, then an L3 switch is OK. But networks grow over time, stuff gets more complex and pretty soon your routing tables (and maybe some related ACL's) are pretty involved.

For what you describe, I'm not sure that speed alone should be your primary or secondary decision factor. I would wager that all the options are more than fast enough. My preference would be ease of maintainability and configuration.