I recently had the chance to catch up with Eliot Lear, a Consulting Engineer at Cisco who has been involved in the open standards movement for over 20 years. Eliot has submitted eight Requests for Comments (RFC), the documents that form the basis of Internet standards. Over my time here, I’ve come to understand how important standards efforts are to Cisco, and I wanted to find out more from one of our very own experts. Here Eliot’s answers my questions.
In my previous two posts, I offered an eyes-wide-open view of two often-cited criticisms relating to Cisco networks – Complexity and Cost. In this third and final installment of the myth-busting series, I want to dismiss the assertion that Cisco networks limit choice. Conversely, I’ll argue that Cisco networks actually offer the greatest choice to network operators.
Before I dispel the myth of Choice, I want to state that there are a number of variations of the Choice myth. I’ll focus on the five that I see as most relevant to the network and the network operator – Network Options, Open Standards, Support Resources, Partner Solutions, and Business Innovation.
According to Larry Dignan of ZDNet, the 264% growth in sales of “Netbooks” over the same quarter last year demonstrates that these small, low-power, web-browsing-centric notebook computers are here to stay. Netbooks seem to match our insatiable desire for a borderless world. In a connect-on-the-go, anytime, anywhere kind of world, people want portable. They want quick and simple.
The connection between netbooks and Cisco’s Borderless Networks concept is even deeper than I once thought however. Take a look at the power requirements for most netbook models. They consume 30 watts of power. Heard of PoE Plus, the new standard of Power-over-Ethernet technology from Cisco that allows up to 30 watts per port for power-hungry devices? Heard of the Catalyst 4500, the first switch series to support this new standard? Light bulb!
Following the myth-busting thread initiated by my prior post on network complexity, let’s next take a closer look at network-related costs. Specifically, let’s shed some light on a second frequently cited myth about Cisco — our solutions cost more.
First, let’s establish that price does not equal cost. Price is the initial cost of purchasing a product. Cost includes not only this initial purchase price, but also all the expenses associated with owning and operating the product. My contention: Cisco solutions cost less.
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.