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RE: Single-vendor vs. best-of-breed network
Personally, I find a limited best of breed network the best. I'm one for finding the best component for the job. Right now, my organization just bought over a hundred NETGEAR hubs/switches, to replace dozens of various aged switches and hubs (IBM, 3COM, SMC, bizarre brands I've never heard of...). This compliments our Cisco stuff, which manages high end LAN and WAN issues. Multivendor also gives you some protection in failures. For example, some Cisco CPE DSL routers with web access enabled and an old IOS crashed during the Code Red worm. This happened at the ISP I worked for. Our Cisco customers were dropping like flies, but the Netopia endpoints remained solid. If this had been a more virulent and vicious worm, it could perhaps have made things a nightmare, especially if it could infect upper end Cisco models. As for having to have engineers know multiple systems... I think the engineers are capable of it most times, it is just a pain. As long as you have a set standards base on various other things (naming and IP schemes, etc etc), things shouldn't be that bad. Heck, at my current work, our servers are NT4, Win2k, Lotus Notes on NT4, ancient Novell servers and several Linux based ones. It is a pain to manage and make everything work together and we are moving to solidate (Dumping NT and Lotus... Novell is a legacy we HAVE to support because it runs software which manages our primary function and no one up high wants to pay to migrate it to something more modern). Before I sign off: IMHO and YMHV :) - James -----Original Message----- From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Pete Kruckenberg 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. 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 appreciated. Thanks. Pete.