Gartner Slams Cisco

January 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

“That’s the way things come clear.  All of a sudden.  And then you realize how obvious they’ve been all along.”
– Madeleine l’Engle, author of A Wrinkle In Time
________________________________________________________

When something stays bottled up for too long — especially when it’s something you suspect deep in your heart — it usually comes out with the loud POP! sound of dissonance, released.

For enterprise networking, this is one of those moments.

Gartner Group has definitively proclaimed that CIOs who go with an all-Cisco network thinking they’re streamlining operational costs are actually throwing money away.

The report concluded that there is no financial, operational, or functional basis for the argument that a single-vendor network simplifies operations and lowers TCO.  The shot through the heart came out like this:  “We did not encounter one example where operational cost savings would offset the equipment cost premium that Cisco generally charges.”

Well, at least you can’t say they waffled…

The report included a few real data points highlighting the actual cost benefits of implementing a multi-vendor network.  By getting off of an all-Cisco network customers can gain:

  • 30-50% reduction in CapEx
  • 40-95% reduction in maintenance costs
  • 15-25% drop in five-year TCO

What’s doubly fascinating is that these are the gains available just from choosing a different proprietary hardware-based networking vendor.  Those are pretty big savings for just trading a headache for an upset stomach.

Now follow it through to the next major architectural wave that leverages software-based networking.  Customers building out their next network waves are going to leverage a whole new cost model:  On Demand Networking.  CapEx expenses are falling through the floor as big-hardware purchases give way to software with a usage-based pricing model.

All in all it’s been a long time coming…  but no part of the IT industry continues a monopolistic-supplier model forever.  Now we have a pre-eminent industry analyst and advisor to CIOs everywhere publishing this warning shot:  “Network architects and CIOs who don’t re-evaluate long-held incumbent vendor decisions (with any vendor) on a periodic basis are not living up to fiduciary responsibilities to their organization.”

May we live in interesting times 😉

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