Cisco vs Other Brands.

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Feb 11th, 2009
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Hey everyone,

Just wish to find out anyone thoughts on this -

We are in the process of renewing our core switches. We have two C3550-12T along with a number of 2950's as our edge switches. However, there has been some discussion of looking at other brands. I am a cisco fan would rather stick to the one brand but management and $$$ have are a big factor here.

Does anyone have any preferences / thoughts on Enterasys and what are the implications if the core switch was replaced with another brand but not the edge cisco switches. I just need a strong argument why to stick with one vendor - Cisco.



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branfarm1 Wed, 02/11/2009 - 12:52
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Well, as far as $$$ goes, you can always point out that buying equipment from a vendor you aren't familiar with will incur additional costs in training and support. Also, when I'm looking to buy a new device I always buy from reputable Cisco authorized resellers of used equipment. Oftentimes you can purchase used/refurbed gear from massive savings -- add the SmartNet to it and you have no risk. All of my current production gear is used/refurbed, and has been running without issue for almost 3 years now.

Obviously, I would do all I could to stick with Cisco. They practically wrote the book on networking, and you can't argue with their quality, in my opinion.

Joseph W. Doherty Wed, 02/11/2009 - 19:54
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I've worked with other brands besides Cisco. Brand X often costs less, but there is some truth to the old adage "you get what you pay for". Cisco devices usually work, especially when stressed. When they have defects (bugs), they tend to fix them. Cisco also sometimes provides features unavailable with brand X. (As an example of the latter, I recall, Cisco had multiple flavors of PIM while Enterasys only supported DVMRP. If you're not doing multicast, not an important difference, but if you're doing multicast, it might be. [Believe Enterasys now supports SM-PIM.])

When you mix brands, you often find different vendors seem to interpret standards, sometimes, enough differently that brand X doesn't work with brand Y. Then you get into the finger pointing games, i.e. it's the other vendor equipment's fault.

Leo Laohoo Wed, 02/11/2009 - 20:27
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Another thing is documentations. Alot of the "more affordable" manufacturers don't really have strong documentations database to support their products in your network. Go to the Cisco website and look for configurations like MaTIP or ALPS and you'll find it.

Another is the question of RMA support for End-of-Sale/End-of-Life products. You can still get something from your 2900 switch that was purchased back in 2000. :)

Istvan_Rabai Wed, 02/11/2009 - 22:48
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Hi Mark,

In addition to accepting these previous advices I would ask my management about what FEATURES in a new switch are important (not only the $$$ amount).

Suppose they will say some specific security features are important.

Knowing this, you will be able to point out the differences (lack/existence of a feature) between the Cisco gear and other vendor's gear and you may have the very decisive cards in your hand.

Extend this principle freely to any feature.



glen.grant Thu, 02/12/2009 - 04:17
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I think a lot comes down to support . Cisco is definitely on the pricier end of gear but then again they have a great website where you can find almost anything you want on how to configure things. You would have to check features , performance and the support website from a maker say like HP and see if it meets your needs or not . If its just a small office then it might not make a difference and the price premium might not be worth it too you. Then again if you don't have brand X now then you have to learn a whole new IOS to configure and support and who has time for that anymore , wish I did .

mark_Bayliss Sun, 02/15/2009 - 13:42
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Thanks everyone for the reply. Its been very helpful to get everyone opinion.




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