I Have Not Been Consistent on Dual Vendors

Bad Mike, Bad!

Don't you just love it (or hate it depending on your point of view) when a politician says one thing and then (within about 30 minutes these days) a YouTube video pops up showing them saying something completely opposite. Oops! Hate (love) that. So, I was looking through old blogs this week and realized that about two years ago I had argued why dual-vendor strategies where bad. Despite the upfront CAPEX savings, organizations would probably end up spending more over the long-term on increased operation costs dealing with two vendors, complexity inflation, and lack of enhanced features. It all made sense...and still does. Too bad about 2 months ago I blogged that a good way to save money was to keep competition in your network using dual vendors. Cue the YouTube video please! Oops. So, as a non-politician, here is my attempt to explain myself. Do dual vendors networks add complexity and actually end up costing more in the long-run? Yes Can having competition in your network from dual (or more vendors) keep initial CAPEX costs low? Yes (See, just like a politician, I now have it both ways!!!) Seriously, which strategy to choose depends on your team and your network's maturity. If you lack template designs, a written architecture, good team organization, and a technology roadmap then using dual vendors is just silly. You have a lot more important things to work on. Doing the things I listed above will save a lot more money than having dual vendors. And, since you don't have good standards and network design processes, then adding another vendor could be a disaster. You need to simplify your network environment, not add complexity. Call you Cisco sales rep and profess your undying love for that single digit discount he is offering you. Buy nothing but Cisco while you work on, at minimum, template designs, and a written architecture. However, if your network architecture and the network itself are mature and well documented, then you have an opportunity to introduce another vendor into the environment to save more money. You've already optimized your environment by doing proper network design/architecture, now you can attack the marginal costs with competition between vendors. With a written architecture, templates, and a mature engineering discipline you will be able to incorporate another vendor's technology. I hope this clears up any confusion. Please contribute to my campaign! :-)

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