Data Center Ecosystem

Apr 6 2011   4:39PM GMT

Switch Vendor Wars

Carrie Higbie Carrie Higbie Profile: Carrie Higbie

To unify or not to unify is one question.  Who’s gear gets selected is yet another.  Some reports would have you believe that a single vendor is the way to go, while other state that there really isn’t much of a savings at all.  Let’s be honest, while there are some nuances in the various systems, it really isn’t a large drain on resources to maintain average operations across several platforms, they really aren’t all that different if you are savvy in how a network works.  It does open up a whole new world of capabilities, however.  A customer recently told me that when brand X is the best at everything he needs, then he will consider them for everything he does.  Sage advice, and I have shared that opinion over the years.  There are very few large-multinational customers that I work with that use the same technology in every segment of their business for every application.

Now I realize that some vendors have great kool-aid, and certainly bring value, which of course is important.  But as the choices become increasingly sophisticated, feature rich, and cost competitive, it’s not as cut and dry a decision anymore.  Companies are using more sophisticated metrics to evaluate the technologies.  In short, the technology should support the business.  An open mind is critical to a realistic evaluation from various vendors.  Marketing materials are a poor way to evaluate critical network components.

I am seeing more and more companies open up their networks at least to consideration, whether they change their decisions or not.   Many of them are actually changing technologies as business needs dictate other factors outside of tradition.

In short, keep an open mind.

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