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RE: Single-vendor vs. best-of-breed network
-----Original Message----- From: Pete Kruckenberg [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Friday, December 21, 2001 1:12 PM To: [email protected] Subject: Single-vendor vs. best-of-breed network 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. --------- We find the general trend is to go single-vendor whenever possible, primarily to reduce support and management costs. Engineers/Operators generally want single vendor, management generally wants best of breed (to put pressure on suppliers). Here are the guidelines we use when helping companies develop network architecture principles (including a position statement on this very topic): Single Vendor: Implications: With this principle, the enterprise puts its faith in the abilities and product direction of a single product or services vendor (per technology area such as switching/routing, or web hosting). When the product line fits the business aims of the enterprise, this is often a very efficient method of doing business. Pros: - Interoperability is eased at least for the products from same vendor. - System integration help is usually available at no cost or as a part of the purchase price of the hardware or software. - Total costs may be lower because of the lack of integration costs. - When network downtime or performance problems are encountered, "finger pointing" can be reduced with fewer vendors. Cons: - If vendor is not tracking mainstream or current technologies, the enterprise may find itself in a technological "dead end." - Due to lack of competition, prices may go up once the enterprise is locked into a particular vendor. - Exploiting new technologies that may be a high leverage technology for the enterprise may be very expensive to integrate from a vendor outside the strategic one. Best of Breed: Implications: This principle makes the enterprise the system integrator and places a premium on in-house talent; some of the "best-of-breed" hardware and software may never have been integrated in the past. Furthermore, after the physical integration is complete, it may be difficult to fully monitor or control the network. Pros: - Permits the enterprise to have the best possible type of product or service in each category. - Keeps the enterprise on the leading edge of networking technology. - Prevents being locked into one provider who may fail or who may not have the needed capabilities. Cons: - Can make network management and staff training more difficult due to multivendor environment. - Network complexity may be higher because of gateways and/or conversion boxes. - Difficult to fix blame when problems arise, due to "finger pointing" by the various network participants. irwin ------ Irwin Lazar Senior Consultant, Burton Group www.burtongroup.com <http://www.burtongroup.com> [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> Office: 703-742-9659 Cell: 703-402-4119 "DrivingNetworkEvolution"