Anyone have tips for converting from Cisco to Enterasys?

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Hi. I am Benjamin West. I am the IT Manager at Ross Environmental Services in Elyria, OH. We are a relatively new Enterasys customer who are in the process of converting over from a Cisco network. I am interested in learning more about the Enterasys solution. I am specifically looking for information on tips from converting from a Cisco environment, integration with VMWare, and how people are taking advantage of Netsight and NAC.

Note: This topic was created from a reply on the Welcome to The Hub! Would you please introduce yourself to the community? topic.
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Benjamin West

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Posted 5 years ago

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Tamera Rousseau-Vesta, Extreme Alumna

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Hi Benjamin! Great to meet you and welcome. I would like to split this topic out for you into their own topics (Cisco to Enterasys, VMWare Integration, and NAC questions) so that others can answer you directly. You are more likely to get answers that way. Again welcome to The Hub!
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Douglas Porter

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Hi Benjamin,
I thought your name looked familiar. I think I may have met you somewhere along the line. My name is Doug Porter. I was network manager at TravelCenters of America in Westlake for a number of years. I am now a network engineer at Republic Steel in Lorain. My background was totally Cisco, CCNP, CCDP, CCVP, Smartnet Expert, and Cisco Wireless Specialist. I passed the CCIE written exam back in 1999, though I never sat for the lab.

Directly related to your question, we are doing a forklift upgrade from a hodge podge of low end consumer grade equipment (which, truth be told, performed amazingly and surprisingly well considering the harsh environment and the assortment of engineers who worked on this network over the years) to Enterasys end to end. we are using the S6s at the core, C5s at the distribution level, and I-series at the edge, with a few A-series here and there. To be honest, the Enterasys CLI reminds me alot of the old Cat6500 OS, i.e. set and show commands. Basically there are a couple of syntactical differences but the functionality is the same. I have to admit that I'm still learning the fine points of the Enterasys OS but it is an easy transition.

Feel free to call me at [Person information removed} cell if you have questions. I'm full of opinions, and I've been doing this sort of work for a couple of decades now.

Take it easy.
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Tamera Rousseau-Vesta, Extreme Alumna

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Thanks for the comment Douglas.  Because this is a public forum and we respect everyone's privacy, I removed your phone number.  Generally, we want to refrain from sharing personal information here.  Thank you!
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John Kaftan

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We may be a good resource for you. We have just completed something similar. We went from a Cisco shop to an Enterasys shop end to end. We are running NAC and Netsight pretty heavily and also have Enterasys wireless.

Where to begin? A couple of things to look out for.

Spanning Tree - You'll want to be running rapid spanning tree on the Cisco stuff if you are not already. We had some funky spanning tree issues until we did that.

LAGs. We struggled mightily to get LAG ports between our Cisco 6509 and our S4. We never did get it going. Since then I believe I have seen a solution on another list serv. I you need to create LAGs between Cisco and Enterasys gear as part of your migration let me know and I will look for that thread.

The layer 3 commands are almost identical to the Cisco commands. It is tempting to just cut and paste them in. However, there are a couple of little things that are not the same. If you use remarks in your ACLs you have to have the remark in "quotes". Also I don't think Enterasys uses the protocol names in an ACL so "deny TCP any any eq HTTP" would become "deny TCP any any eq 80" or something like that.

It will take you awhile to get down the VLAN egress stuff. That tipped me up for awhile. In Cisco you just create a trunk and you are done. With Enterasys you have to specify each VLAN that you want to tag across that trunk and do that on every uplink across your network.

You will miss the pipe command. Embrace Netsight is all I can say.

Let me know if you need help but you probably won't because GTAC is as good as it gets!

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Benjamin West

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Thanks for the replies guys. We successfully forklift upgraded one of our facilities to Enterasys gear. As a result of doing that, I think I finally get the VLAN egress stuff. It took me a little bit too. For our other facility, we are going to have to do a slower transition so setting up LAGs between Cisco and Enterasys will be necessary. We are going to be setting them up betwee SSA180s and Cisco 3560s. We may also set one up between a 7100 Series and a Cisco 3560 as well. At this time, don't worry about digging anything up. That sounds like a lot of work. If we actually run into an issue, I may come back begging. :)

Nice to meet you both!
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Volker Kull

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see the following information build from GTAC with most used commands at C5. It ́s an example how to use ports, vlans, etc. at Enterasys devices.!

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Michael, Alum

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We have a growing library of Web Based Training (WBT) modules that provide demonstration / simulation of configuring Enterasys solutions (including Enterasys and Cisco interactions). They are free for all to use and are located at the following link:

If you have any suggestions on items that you would like to see added to this library, please let us know.

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Mohammed Kuhail

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Hi All,
I think the integration can be easy and simple if you are using standard protocol which usually not the case. since many customers they implement Cisco proprietary protocols like EIGRP, PVSTP+ and so on.
the step is easy.
- Usually Cisco never tag the VLAN 1 unless you change the native VLAN. which may you have to considered it.
- Cisco switch always run per vlan STP for VLAN 1 in simulation mode even if you configure switch to use MST
- use MST or Rapid STP.
- use LAG
- convert layer 3 protocol to OSPF. which usually can done smoothly via running two routing protocol in Cisco switch. the only tips you have to change default administrative distance (AD) Eigrp should be the preferred till you are ready for migration and make OSPF the preferred.
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Andre Brits Kannemeyer

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Hi Benjamin

Firstly, well done on selecting the best networking kit around ;)

I have done a few Cisco to Enterasys migrations and like all the comments above, as long as you stick to open standards the transition should be smooth.

If I can make one comment, the policy side (policy manager ect) is the most power full tool, use it to the extreme.
I have seen alot of ex cisco network clients installing Enterasys Kit but never utilizing it to its full potential, by not using the policy side.

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Ian Lyons

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Hi Benjamin
I am cisco training and used Cisco for years before going to an Art College in New England. While the syntax is very similar, live in the "show ?" or command ? world for awhile and the small changes will make sense.

As others said before me the real benefit is Policy (so much better than ACL's-OR view them as ACL's on streroids) and Netsite. Throw in Inventory manager and with the trifecta you can save configs, push restores, review past configs, make large scale changes seamlessly.

As to LAG's it depends on what you are connecting to, some do static other dynamic..there is a best practices guide @ entersys that spells out the commands. IT works. We have 2 c7000 chassis with flex 10/VCEM switch that are lagged. One with 4 10gb links and another chassis with 12 1gb links (age of switch) lagged.

But the crowning glory is really GTAC. Cant say enough positive things about the crew over there. Something you wont know for awhile is that GTAC doesnt change much, I have been using Enterasys for 8 years and know more than 1/2 the crew by voice and first name...*8* years later.

Good product that does what it needs to do and is supported.
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John Kaftan

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Policy and NAC are not for the faint of heart. You'll want to take the policy class and give yourself a ton of time for testing etc. It's so cool though.