North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Single-vendor vs. best-of-breed network

  • From: Andy Walden
  • Date: Fri Dec 21 14:24:44 2001

On Fri, 21 Dec 2001, Pete Kruckenberg wrote:

> 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?

My experience is showing me a lot more organizations are moving along the
same lines of thought as you. Many are even moving to an "anything but
single vendor's products" mentality.

Juniper led the way and proved that a good product can be coupled with
good support and provide an adequate or superior replacement. Other
vendors have had a chance to grow and cope with the needs of large
networks and provide the service required to handle a tier-1 type network.

Locking yourself into a vendor just because "it's safe" has often been
the path of least resistance for a middle manager out of their league. You
may end up with old, often overpriced, and often buggy equipment, but hey,
"our market cap is more then all of our competitors combined", and we know
thats what really matters right? Also, buying from a single vendor doesn't
go very far for promising any sort of interoperability of consistancy.
Think about all those aquisitions and employee turnover.

Don't get me wrong. I think too many vendors make for a mess, and dealing
with startups is a risky business. "Thats nice that your box has all these
features, come talk to me when you have some customers. Preferebly tier-1s
that have deployed the box for a couple of years at least." So stick with
the top 10 brands and companies not on the verge of being delisted.

All vendors suck, but different ones suck less in different applications.
You owe it to yourself to look around and find the best bang for your buck
that will let you sleep at night. Or as a buddy of mine recently put it,
"gee, the list price for lies and arrogance is at a premium these days".


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