Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)

Unanswered Question
Nov 13th, 2007


Does anybody know MTBF for Cisco 2801 and Cisco 2811 voice routers?

I'm quite dissapointed after unsuccessfully searching on CCO. The only thing I found (quite funny) is that 2800's have a similar MTBF to 2600's, whose MTBF I didn't find either.

I think Cisco is quite erratic providing this kind of data, which customers demand more and more often.



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mcotherman Tue, 08/31/2010 - 13:20

I am looking for the same information, I find it concerning that Cisco does not care to provide this information...  nearly three years and no awnser?

Paolo Bevilacqua Tue, 08/31/2010 - 13:37

This information is normally provided by the local sales office, to customers asking formally.

mcotherman Tue, 08/31/2010 - 13:59

I an an engineer for a gold partner, and have been supporting Cisco products in such a fashion since 1996..  'local Cisco office' may be good for mom and pop shops selling cisco gear, or even partners in a certain region or vertical, but when you are a gold partner with worldwide customers, Cisco wants you to 'drive the business' which means finding the answers on your own... or using a tool like this forum to find answers, I would encourage you to not respond to posts without a real answer, as it just adds to the clutter in this forum, if you want to see what I mean, just search for 2811 MTBF and you will see what I mean...  nothing but what seems to be people wanting to up their post counts with non-answers

This is standard information that should be published by any company doing hardware manufacturing business today.

Paolo Bevilacqua Tue, 08/31/2010 - 14:26

mcotherman, "Local cisco office" means the local sales office as listed on cisco website.

I know for sure because I worked as system engineer for Cisco, and we had no problem obtaining or providing this information.

Then to decide if MTBF figures (for what thye are worth) have to be released publicly, I think that is not mine neither your call.

For sure the right place to get this information is not a public forum like this, to which cisco only partcipates for certain products lines during certain times.

mcotherman Tue, 08/31/2010 - 14:48

If you knwo for a fact, then please provide the information....

  We both know the proper place for this information is the Data Sheet...  for some reason, Cisco does not publish the MTBF on the router datasheets, only the switches, however most hardware manfacturers in the world do, including Cisco's competitors.. (try searching 'ssg router datasheet mtbf' and it comes right up)

Now with these posts we have created more distraction for those searching the fourms looking for real answers...  I know for a FACT that if I call the office local to either myself or the customer, I will get asked... "You couldn't find it in CCO?" and then have to wait days or weeks for the answer, meanwhile an RFP requiring this information is due today...

Paolo Bevilacqua Tue, 08/31/2010 - 15:35

mcotherman, again when I was a Cisco SE, our partners had a dedicated sales person called SAM, plus dedicated channel SEs. I think these roles are still in existence. These people were very supportive to partners, because partners are the ones that materially makes the business to Cisco.

Their job was to provide any answers not on CCO and never let a bid due for the next day to go unanswered. I hope you will be able to enjoy an improvement in the relationship with them, otherwise I encourage you to complain strongly using all possible means, incidentally the annual partner satisfaction questionnaire is being closed right in these days.

All this said, be reassured, MTBF numbers are not a secret for those that have a reason to know.

mcotherman Wed, 09/01/2010 - 06:18

paolo -

We have over about 50 cisco folks dedicated to supporting us as a reseller, and they do not have this kind of information on the top of their head, they come back with 'let me check', they are concerned with hitting their division/business unit/whatever sales number and driving sales of new product. I also have contacts with PSS's, but I like to use my ability to get information from them for real problems, not to get information THAT SHOULD BE PUBLIC...  again, it is not like I am asking for source code, I am asking for documented, actual MTBF numbers that would be knowledge to the public as soon as the RFP response is supplied to the buyer. Me personally, I think Gold partner, CCIE-level access should open these documents that show MTBFs to me, but if they are super-secret, I guess not.


vragotha Tue, 08/31/2010 - 15:28

Cisco2801 ~ 400,000

Cisco2811 ~ 300,000

These numbers are approximate and for the chassis only. Cisco Sales will be able to provide you more detailed info

mcotherman Wed, 09/01/2010 - 07:54

I am quoting my inside contact..  and yes, I am sure this very large customer has more NDA's (going both directions) than you can count...

"Our MTBF information is confidential and distributed at the discretion of the account team once a NDA is in place with the targeted customer. Do you have a NDA in place with this customer? "

What a poor way to do business in my opinion... 

Paolo Bevilacqua Wed, 09/01/2010 - 08:04

The Cisco employee is only doing what the company instructed him/her to do, so is acting correctly.

If you want to pass this information to the customer, have them sign the NDA or state to Cisco that they did already.

Complaining here about the way Cisco does business, it's unlikely to get you any result.

mcotherman Wed, 09/01/2010 - 08:17

I will defer to a philosopher for this one....  not exact, but sounds nicer than 'squeaky wheel gets the grease'....

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

I am participating in 'the politics of networking technology'


John Galietta Thu, 09/02/2010 - 11:49

Cisco used to publish this information in the data sheets, in fact you used to be able to find the MTBF and MTTR.

While trying to provide a detailed analysis of availability for a client's data center design we required some MTBF and MTTR numbers for the calculations.  When we couldn't find the data in the regular channels (CCO) we hit the Cisco sales team for some info.  There was an issue with them finding it and we wound up talking to product managers back in San Jose.

The long and short of it was this; Cisco doesn't publish those numbers anymore because they can be misleading and are very misunderstood by clients.  The interrelation between the software and hardware components of the network devices can cause issues that cannot be calculated effectively in MTBF.  If the MTBF rates the hardware components (as mentioned above, the MTBF is good for the chassis) but a software bug causes a company's router to go down a week after it was put on line then the customer sees the ~400,000 hr MTFB as a false number and then the customer is dissapointed in the device's performance.

We did finally manage to get the MTBF numbers for the devices we were analyzing.  When the calculations were done the supposedly five 9's data center had network hardware that could only provide three 9's, mathamatically speaking.  Did this really mean that the data center was going to fail more often with this design and hardware?  No, there are other mitigating factors to compensate for this, however when the simple math is done it looks really bad.

The moral of the story is that when it comes to MTBF...your mileage may vary, A LOT!


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