Promising platform with show-stopping bugs
October 03, 2019
Promising platform with show-stopping bugs
Score 3 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Cisco 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 9000)
We are using it for core and peering routers due to the insane FIB storage available compared to the Nexus 7Ks they replaced. We were not using any platform-specific features so when hardware refresh time came up and the options were N7700 or A9900 it seemed to be a no-brainer based on the capability in terms of both hardware and software and side-by-side cost comparison. Is a 9900 overkill for a standard IP core? Definitely, but we were looking to maintain a full table and not have to worry about FIB limitations.
- Large FIB.
- Netconf support.
- Configuration staging with commit.
- Upgrade process overly complicated compared to NX-OS or IOS: new images and the current configuration need to be compiled into "golden IOS's". If you don't include the configuration, you will have a clean device with no config.
- Major bugs in every release. We have had to cycle through all of our routers 3 times in the last year for updates due to show-stopping bugs that did not come to light until after the changes were made in production.
- Terrible documentation. You have to mine their site to get to any documentation for recent versions of IOS-XR. If you make the leap from 32-bit cXR to 64-bit eXR then the documentation is more-or-less non-existent. Due to the internal architecture of hardware itself, technical specs can change from software version to software version, so don't expect any sort of firm scalability numbers. You'll have to rely on your sales engineer for that.
- No more FIB exception states. We pushed the limits of our old 6500s, then pushed the limits of the n7000s that followed. Fingers crossed FIB table shouldn't be the thing that forces our hands into upgrading next time.
- Bugs have reloaded line cards. As an example, I configured an administratively-down GRE tunnel interface and it crashed the line card due to a bug that could be triggered by adding a logical interface. That's the type of action that should be possible at any time without playing Russian Roulette.
- Bugs have caused simple things like SNMP to break until the line card has been reloaded.
- Everything requires a license. Do your research on what licenses you will need because Cisco will nickel-and-dime you.
Management is more comfortable with Cisco gear due to familiarity. The old adage that "Nobody was ever fired for IBM" translates perfectly to Cisco: "Nobody was ever fired for buying Cisco." In this case, our hands were forced into making a hardware upgrade. With a big leap like this, it makes sense to do a bake-off and compare and contrast between vendors, but at the end of the day, it's all about what gives the decision-makers warm and fuzzy feelings.
In some ways, the platform is a big improvement over our previous IOS and NX-OS devices:
- They offer version-controlled configuration staging/commits.
- They have a robust portfolio of network protocols and features even beyond datacenter devices.
- Due to the use of NPUs instead of relying entirely on ASICs for forwarding, new versions of the software are able to improve hardware performance and capacity.
Do you think Cisco 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 9000) delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Cisco 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 9000)'s feature set?
Did Cisco 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 9000) live up to sales and marketing promises?
Did implementation of Cisco 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 9000) go as expected?
Would you buy Cisco 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 9000) again?
Cisco 9000 Series is well suited anywhere that requires lots of room for FIB (e.g. holding multiple full tables in multiple VRFs for militancy). It is also well suited for carriers due to the feature set - they can do MPLS and they can do segment routing. They are less suited for shops that have always been Cisco shops that are looking to replace their IOS devices in the least-difficult way and without having to learn new CLI. "IOS" may be in the name, but it is not at all the same.
Evaluating Cisco 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers (ASR 9000) and Competitors
Yes - We replaced Catalyst 6506-E chassis with Supervisor 2Ts with ASR 9904 chassis with RSP880s. We actually got a credit on these as part of a buy-back program meant to keep 6500s off the secondary market. I'll take it. We replaced Nexus 7010 chassis with Sup2E with ASR 9906 chassis with RSP880s.
- Product Features
- Vendor Reputation
- Existing Relationship with the Vendor
Mostly it came down to running out of route memory on the previous devices. Even on Nexus 7k chassis with M2 cards the "1 Million" documented prefixes don't live up to the hype when the FIB gets fragmented. We needed FIB space and we needed it quickly so we ended up going with the solution proposed by the vendor with whom we already had a relationship.