North American Network Operators Group

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Single-vendor vs. best-of-breed network

  • From: Pete Kruckenberg
  • Date: Fri Dec 21 13:14:13 2001

I'm trying to make an informed decision whether moving to a
multi-vendor best-of-breed makes sense for my organization.
This is obviously a complex question, so I am hoping to tap
some (figurative) "grey hair" advise from real-world
experiences for the general areas I should focus on in
making/justifying a decision.

What, if anything, makes a multi-vendor (wide-area) network
successful and worth the risks over the "safe" single-vendor
network nobody gets fired for buying (you can probably guess
what vendor Powers my network now). What are the
(un)quantifiable metrics/ROI/arguments you've used to
justify being single-vendor or best-of-breed?

The single-vendor argument seems to primarily focus on
customer support (no finger-pointing, no confusion who to
call) and single skill-set (leverage training, hire rote
technicians)  advantages. The multi-vendor faction seems to
focus on best features/performance, best price, and keeping
vendors honest. What are the real factors and what is FUD
for someone who has been on both sides?

Personal experience, pointers to case studies, (vendor)
white papers, etc on both sides of the argument are