Cisco ISR G2s - Just Another 3700-series?

I Think I've Seen These Routers Before...

Almost a year ago, Cisco released a huge marketing blitz titled the "Data Center Big Bang". I commented at the time that this was a big YYYYYAAAAAWWWWNNNNN. Lots of hype, not much substance. Last week's Cisco ISR G2 routers release didn't strike me as a huge marketing blitz; I actually felt the marketing was rather average this time. No huge announcements, webinars, e-mail assaults, or predictions of world peace with this new Cisco product. Just a standard product rollout with appropriate marketing.

And, based on the new ISR G2 routers, that seems about right. I don't see anything revolutionary about the ISR G2s. Essentially, take ISRs, make packets go faster. Brad Reese had a good graphic showing the differences between the legacy ISRs and the new G2s:

Nothing in there that makes me want to buy three for the lab just to see the blinky lights. Cisco has done this before. Remember the 3700-series routers? A little trip down memory lane would be appropriate. The Cisco 2500-series - in all its amazing fixed configuration options - was the powerhouse of branch routing. What did Cisco sell, about a billion of those things? In desperate need of a product line refresh, Cisco released the very impressive 2600/3600-series routers which quickly started replacing the fixed configuration 2500 series.

The 2600/3600-series were very good routers and quickly spread into enterprise networks. I did most of my CCIE lab prep on those routers. Then, around 2003, Cisco decided the 3600 series wasn't good enough anymore and came out with the 3700 series. The 3700-series was a nice speed upgrade, but nothing revolutionary. Like going from Windows 95 (3600-series) to Windows 98 (3700-series) before Windows 2000 (ISRs) came out. And the funniest thing about the 3700s was they only lasted a year, maybe 18 months. When the ISRs were released in 2004, everyone moved to the ISRs, skipping over the 3700 series. The original ISRs did have some really good, new technology that justified an upgrade. Not so much with the G2s. So, that gets me to my point. What's the big need to upgrade to G2s? I'm not running out and buying any. Furthermore, will there be a new router line in the next 12-18 months with some real new technology that will quickly obsolete the G2s? Is it worth the engineering time to research, test, architect, and validate the G2s to be included in standard templates? I need to see something more. Maybe I'm missing something. ?

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