When my family and I consider buying a new car, it never ceases to astound me how many factors go into the decision. Sure, price is an important consideration. It is, however, just one of many. I want to know what’s under the hood. How does the car handle? How many passengers does it hold? How reliable is it? How safe it is? How long will it last? How fuel efficient is it? The list goes on and on. The same is true in the networking world.
We at Cisco hear a few common criticisms. Cisco solutions cost more. Cisco solutions are complex. Cisco solutions limit choice. Alternative networking vendors would have you believe that buying the “cheapest”… or the “simplest”… or the so-called “open” device is the best route to networking success. Oh, if it were only as easy as they make it sound. Just as with the new car purchase, there is so much more involved in evaluating your options and, ultimately, making the right decision. To that point, I’d like to take a moment in this post to address one of these three myths related to Cisco networking solutions, and hopefully give you some helpful tips for planning your network in the process. I’ll address the remaining two myths in future posts.
Look under the hood of your car. It looks different, more complex, than it would have looked fifty years ago. This apparent complexity really represents a vast improvement in quality. Today’s car drives better, offers better protection, and lasts longer than those “simple” cars of yesteryear. Ask me which of my motorcycles is simpler to own and operate – my classic Indian or my new-age Honda.
Yes, Cisco is a large company, providing a diverse customer base with a wealth of alternative solutions. The breadth and depth of our product portfolio is unmatched in the industry. Our products are rich in capabilities and intelligent services. System flexibility and sophistication does not directly translate to complexity, however. Take the ISR G2 for example, which decouples hardware and software to support virtual services on demand and delivers a superior video experience. Here, one singular system performs the work of literally ten or more specialized appliances. Look at our Cisco Catalyst switches. These systems have led the way in such key areas as high availability, security, and PoE delivery. And now they are leading the way in energy monitoring and management via Cisco EnergyWise. Again, one device is doing the work of many. Sounds simpler to me.
Just as with new cars, complexity must be kept “under the hood.” Here, Cisco offers consistent software, services, and management interfaces across its many products, allowing IT staff and end users to get the most from the network and themselves. Ready-made Cisco Validated Designs and best practice guidance enable network operators to do networking right… the first time. And when there is a problem “under the hood,” you make one phone call. Here, five global technical assistance centers and over 1,500 TAC engineers are ready to fix your network fast. Here, Cisco makes the sophisticated simple.
The alternative? Assembling mismatched gear from multiple sources. Testing the whole collection. Deploying it across your organization – maybe across the globe. Keeping it running smoothly. Fixing it fast when it breaks. And then adding more pieces into the mix as needs change. There’s a reason you buy that whole car from Ford or Toyota or GM or Honda… It is designed, tested, serviced as one. That is simple.
What do you think of this common myth about Cisco networking products? Your thoughts, positive or negative, are welcome.