Depends what you want to do with them. There are managed switches and non managed switches. Non managed switches are not that different from each other and when something goes wrong you can't get into it (SNMP, console, telnet) and figure out what's going on. Managed switches are always preffered on a company environment. Out of these Cisco is most expensive (you pay for reliability and support) plus you have to pay for maintenance. Other good choices are 3Com (lifetime replacement but switches get bad ports after few years) HP (lifetime replacement and very reliable Dell (make some good layer 2/3 managed switches and CLI almost matches up with Cisco IOS) Regards
A better product for imaging is Symantec LiveState Recovery Suite. Like Acronis and other imaging tools it allows you to image the server while the server is running. What Livestate offiers is a feature called Resotre Anywhere which allows you to restore to dissimilar hardware. I've always imaged the system partition and data partions The Restore Anywhere option allows you to restore to practically any machine from any machine. I've used it to restore from large servers to small workstations with large hard drives -> SCSI to IDE, physical to virtual machine, virtual machine back to physical hardware. This method allows you to perform restores without having the same expensive hardware onsite. I've always used a single machine to perform multiple server restores one at a time on a single workstation or a large single server running Vmware to reproduce the whole network. As part of the backup scheme I normally prefer disk to disk to tape solutions. This allows you to hold a "shallow archive" onsite on disk that allows you to mount a few days worth of images to recover files or systems a lot faster than from tape. The tape backup allows offsite archive solution in case the whole building burns down.