• United States
larry chaffin
CEO and Chairman of Pluto Cloud Services

Cisco and routing: Who says you can’t go home?

Jun 17, 20112 mins
Cisco SystemsComputers and PeripheralsNetworking

Why I'm losing hope in Cisco again this month

The last few weeks Cisco has been pressing their pitch that a network composed of a single vendor’s network (Cisco’s) is best for users. To me it looks like they are having to work very hard to come up with examples of happy users with nothing but Cisco, such as covered in this article: “Cisco again looks to debunk the multivendor network”

I have issues with some of the examples Cisco is using. One is the Columbus, Ohio, Regional Airport Authority. I live in Columbus and it is not a big airport. More importantly, the IT executives I talk to say that they have no intention of using only Cisco, period. I would say it is a 10 out of 10 when I ask executives, and they don’t hesitate. So if I am getting this feedback, what happy place is Cisco in thinking this kind of product positioning will work? Discounts of 70% will only go so far for a customer — customers also want choice. Why not recognize that the idea of a multivendor network is here to stay?

Second, I also take issue with how Cisco is positioning itself as being best for trading markets. (See story, Cisco fabric launch seeks to undermine Arista, IBM) From what I see and hear, Arista and Juniper are doing quite well with trading companies worldwide. Cisco is using product tests that it paid for to compare its products to the others in a head-to-head test. There’s something desperate about both of these things to me, the pitch of a Cisco-only network and the paid tests.

But what saddens me most is that for a while there, I had high hopes that Cisco was going to come home, per what Chambers said and told the media when discussing the company’s reorganization plans. Now they are back to the troubled Cisco, where they want to win by product positioning and discounts. I have said this before but maybe Cisco will listen this time, you cannot do everything. Cisco cannot say they are the best in every area of a network. Please get back to routing, switching and firewalls, beat the competition by innovation and not by acquisitions. If you don’t, before you know it, you will have lost to HP, Juniper and others.

Cisco’s new motto should be “We will win your business by innovations, not acquisitions.”