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    Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?

    Joshua Johnson - CCNP R&S

      Hi Everyone,

       

      Don't be fooled by the title, I love Cisco.

       

      I need all of your feedback on why you think Cisco is the best, at least in regards to R&S, or maybe not the best?  In the workplace, there is always, at least once and a while, a battle between buying cheaper solutions which advertise that they are better then Cisco in some form or fashion, like Enterasys or HP etc...  I don't have any experience with other products but how can you really beat the knowledge base that Cisco provides?  How can you beat the fact that Cisco Just Works?  Cisco Learning Network?  Certification Guides? etc....

       

      Anyway, Please Please Please, take this thread seriously, and do me a favor and all the others out there who run into these questions a favor and post a detailed response if you can spare some time.

       

      Thank you very much for your time,

       

      Regards,

      Joshua Johnson

        • 1. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
          Anthony Sequeira, CCIE,VCP

          Of course John Chambers helped to address this question at the keynote address in Cisco Live 2011 Las Vegas. When you look at their core business of Routing...initially they were the leader because they were the only major player. Then they started to lose in certain segments, such as high volume core and enterprise edge. Cisco has successfully recaptured the lead across all levels thanks to innovation and new product lines like the CRS-3.

           

          As the role of the network continues to change and becomes more vital, we are pressured to find a vendor that can provide devices that will integrate and ensure ease of use, while following open standards. I really do believe John Chambers when he pledges that Cisco will continue to make these areas a major focus.

           

          Another hugely compelling reason to consider Cisco is this Cisco Learning Network site itself. Cisco crushes the competition in the number of experts that can collaborate with you regarding product and technology support. Over 78% of all of Cisco's customer issues are solved almost immediately online. Truly amazing when you think about it, and I would love to see the percentage of those support resolutions that are coming from non Cisco employees. I would bet that most are partners or even non-Cisco partners.

           

          I think there are most definitely points in the network where you can safely consider non-Cisco ingredients, such as the access layer and mobility devices, but for me, honestly, the core of the network architecture still must be Cisco.

           

          Anthony Sequeira

          StormWindLive.tv

          http://stormwindlive.tv/demos.html

          • 2. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
            Joshua Johnson - CCNP R&S

            Outstanding Anthony, well put, very well written.  I'm looking forward to more responses; thank you for your time, Sir.

            • 3. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
              Malusi

              I agreee with Anthony full, Cisco has a well structured training compared to competition. Once you have the skillset to design or solve problems half the battle is won. I was involved in a POC for MPLS core network between Cisco and the other vendor that shall remain nameless. The other vendor quote came out very cheap, actually half of what Cisco was quoting but the engineers spent half of their time calling the USA for troubleshooting issues, whenever there was a problem there will be on the phone with some specialist in USA. Mind you i am in South Africa and when it came to motivation that was their downfall. Its so effortless to find Cisco engineers. Cisco have made training partnerships and Cisco Training easily accessible wherever you are in the world.

              Its actually turned out to be their major competitive advantage, pricing alone can not guarantee success, availability of skill is vital otherwise you will spend hours without critical services still looking for engineers which is bad for business...I guess for less critical aspects of the network you can run that risk but  not for core services.

              • 4. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                Nabil

                The only minor products with cisco is they still behind are Wireless side...comparing to others vendors.. cheaper, easy..efficent..

                 

                I would say talk by itself like any others industry.. you get what u pay for!!!

                • 5. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                  Pete Nugent

                  Sorry Nabil you are 100% wrong. Cisco is market leader in every sector of the wifi industry (802.11) If you can give an example where it lags that would be great. With about 65% market share.

                   

                  Here are a few highlights

                   

                  H-REAP only a few vendors offer similar.

                  Bandselect

                  802.11n mesh

                  Cisco NCS

                  AwIPS

                  CleanAir

                  VideoStream

                   

                  I look at other vendor solutions regularly and although most vendors can do standard WLAN implementations there are very few that have the breadth and depth aswell as the capability to deliver a solution.

                   

                  Look at the latest Gartner magic Quadrant March 2011 everyone else is still playing catchup.

                   

                  Dont believe everyones glossy brochures you need to look at the technology aswell, nearly every wireless vendor benchmarks against Cisco and much of it is hype. You need to ask yoursself why they bash Cisco, probably because thats who is the market leader.

                  • 6. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                    Anthony Sequeira, CCIE,VCP

                    I was surprised to learn in the Cisco Live 2011 Keynote that Cisco is the leader in 7 of the 11 product families it has entered. Many caution Cisco that they are spreading themselves too thin and placing too much emphasis out of Routing and Switching, but if this is true, it is clearly just by a little bit.

                     

                    If anyone is interested in my full notes from this year's Keynote Address, here they are:

                     

                    Notes from the Keynote

                    • 7. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                      Joshua Johnson - CCNP R&S

                      Good stuff

                      • 8. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                        Joshua Johnson - CCNP R&S

                        Anthony Sequeira, CCIE, CCSI wrote:

                         

                        I was surprised to learn in the Cisco Live 2011 Keynote that Cisco is the leader in 7 of the 11 product families it has entered. Many caution Cisco that they are spreading themselves too thin and placing too much emphasis out of Routing and Switching, but if this is true, it is clearly just by a little bit.

                         

                        If anyone is interested in my full notes from this year's Keynote Address, here they are:

                         

                        Notes from the Keynote

                        Thanks Anthony!

                        • 9. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                          Nabil

                          for SBS cisco solutions will cost an arm and leg...saying that .. if u got plenty of cash go with cisco .. otherwise just use what u need .. shop around...plenty these days... ..for wireless... well to use cisco solutions will cost lot money when u start looking at big project/scale...i am not talking about SOHO..   on large campus.u start counting ur pennies.. u will see what i talking about..

                           

                          like anythings else .. all cars drive on the same road for same directions. someone got Z4 others 206...

                          • 10. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                            Pete Nugent

                            Again Nabil its churning out the same marketing speak I here all day. I have just completed a cost comparison of Cisco, Ruckus and Meru who both claim to be cheaper than Cisco and guess what!

                             

                            Yes Cisco is cheaper, I appreciate they use arguments but the real truth is Cisco with regard to wireless is very competetive.

                            • 11. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                              Jared

                              I actually started out with HP and moved to Cisco for one main reason.  It flat out performed better!  That was like 6 or 7 years ago.  Cisco was more expensive than HP, but the better performance and features were worth it.

                               

                              Today, the economy isn't great and I find myself in the boat of re-evaluating, checking to see if Cisco is still the best investment.  As hard as it is, I have to be as objective as possible.  I have a slight bias in that I have spent a lot of time certifying in Cisco Certifications.

                               

                              Lets go back to some good ol Design principles.  Look at the customer requirements and constraints and then the technological requirements and constrtaints

                              My customer constraint is expense, therefore I am now in a situation where I need to at least look to see what, if anything, has changed.

                               

                              I already know Cisco features and performance.  What I need to look at in HP is have they improved in those performance issues and have they added the features I asked for 3 years ago?  How does their support line up against Cisco TAC?  The last time I used HP support, I had an RMA that was taken care of on next business day and the switch was several years old and I needed no smartnet type of contract at all.

                              Lifetime warranty for as long as you own the product and not pay for a contract..... not a bad deal.

                               

                              Now, that was a long time ago and many things have changed, both at Cisco and HP/3com, (they merged).

                               

                              So, I am going to take the hardware specs and features of my Cisco devices and then I will compare that to the HP counterparts.  I will also get the support possibilties of both companies and do a side by side comparison.  Of course cost is a part of that.

                               

                              From then, I will make my decision.  Cisco is good, but not even Cisco is perfect.

                              • 12. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                                Joshua Johnson - CCNP R&S

                                Jared, expense is what everyone faces, but as Anthony explained you can't just look at the MSRP, you also have to take into consideration those costs that are hard to quantify (that's where the problem lies, hard to quantify...) Nevertheless, support is a major issue as most of us know, but it's never an issue with Cisco.  Support meaning not only TAC, but us, the certified experts.  When stuff starts going down, we need to know how to fix it.  If you don't know how to fix it because it's an HP product, then your network is down, hopefully not your production network as then you would not only be paying for HP support, but also paying dearly for your network being down, your business stops functioning, revenue...  Your boss is angry with you, your customers lose faith in you, ouch...

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                Jared wrote:

                                 

                                I actually started out with HP and moved to Cisco for one main reason.  It flat out performed better!  That was like 6 or 7 years ago.  Cisco was more expensive than HP, but the better performance and features were worth it.

                                 

                                Today, the economy isn't great and I find myself in the boat of re-evaluating, checking to see if Cisco is still the best investment.  As hard as it is, I have to be as objective as possible.  I have a slight bias in that I have spent a lot of time certifying in Cisco Certifications.

                                 

                                Lets go back to some good ol Design principles.  Look at the customer requirements and constraints and then the technological requirements and constrtaints

                                My customer constraint is expense, therefore I am now in a situation where I need to at least look to see what, if anything, has changed.

                                 

                                I already know Cisco features and performance.  What I need to look at in HP is have they improved in those performance issues and have they added the features I asked for 3 years ago?  How does their support line up against Cisco TAC?  The last time I used HP support, I had an RMA that was taken care of on next business day and the switch was several years old and I needed no smartnet type of contract at all.

                                Lifetime warranty for as long as you own the product and not pay for a contract..... not a bad deal.

                                 

                                Now, that was a long time ago and many things have changed, both at Cisco and HP/3com, (they merged).

                                 

                                So, I am going to take the hardware specs and features of my Cisco devices and then I will compare that to the HP counterparts.  I will also get the support possibilties of both companies and do a side by side comparison.  Of course cost is a part of that.

                                 

                                From then, I will make my decision.  Cisco is good, but not even Cisco is perfect.

                                • 13. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                                  Jared

                                  Joshua,

                                   

                                  Don't be fooled by my last post.  I migrated from HP for a reason.

                                  You asked, "I need all of your feedback on why you think Cisco is the best, at least in regards to R&S, or maybe not the best?"

                                   

                                  Well, I gave you that feedback.  You are absolutely right in how hard it is to quantify costs.  I totally agree.  The only way I know how to do that is to forget what HP says about Cisco and what Cisco says about HP or the "good enough" network and compare apples to apples.  For example, way back in the day, HP had a 4100 series switch.  It was supposed to be the "competitor" to the 4500 series Cisco switch.  I looked at the hardware specs of each of these and the Cisco switch won hands down in performance and features.  At the time, HP switched traffic in software where as Cisco switches in hardware, thus a big reason for the performance difference.  Was there a cost difference?  Sure, but it was well worth it because the Cisco switch out performed the HP by leaps and bounds.  I was looking for performance first and foremost.

                                   

                                  Now lets say that the hardware specs were pretty much equal?  Then would would be the next comparison?  I would then go for features.  I asked HP for a specific feature that Cisco already had 3 years ago.  I wonder if they added that feature in?  If they don't have the features I need, then HP looses.  If they do, then I would look at support.  Now back in the day, their support IMO was actually better than Cisco's.  Each support team was equally knowledgeable on their respective products, but HPs support was more affordable.  As much as I hate to say it, I gotta give HP points for that.

                                   

                                  Now, please understand, I am going by my own experience of 7 years ago.  Cisco has changed since then.  HP has changed since then.  It is now time for me to do the same apples to apples comparison to see how each has changed.

                                   

                                  You stated "Nevertheless, support is a major issue as most of us know, but it's never an issue with Cisco."

                                   

                                  I beg to differ.  I have seen Cisco networks have their share of problems because either their IT staff couldn't support it or because TAC wasn't a help.  You are very fortunate you have not had that experience.  I can hold my own in network support with a mixed Cisco and HP network or a pure HP network or a pure Cisco network.  Others may not.

                                   

                                  You stated "When stuff starts going down, we need to know how to fix it.  If you don't know how to fix it because it's an HP product, then your network is down, hopefully not your production network as then you would not only be paying for HP support, but also paying dearly for your network being down, your business stops functioning, revenue"

                                   

                                  Trust me when I say that if you can manage and support a Cisco switch, then you can do an HP switch.  HPs are actually easier than Cisco's, because they have less features and therefore less complexity.  Sure, there are syntax differences and there may be a learning curve, but an HP switch is not hard to deal with.  Just because one is not certified on a vendors product, it doesn't mean they can't support their switches.  I supported HP switches for quite some time and I still have a couple of sites that are using HP switches.  I am not HP certified, but I still know how to support them.  Why, because I picked up the docs of a switch and taught myself how.

                                   

                                  That is one of the costs that is hard to quantify is the fact that if you switch to a different network vendor, then you will have to learn how to support that vendor.

                                   

                                  I am actually glad that I started out supporting HP switches and moved to Cisco.  It gave me a good learning experience and a chance to gain experience in two different network vendors.

                                   

                                  You also stated "I don't have any experience with other products but how can you really beat the knowledge base that Cisco provides?  How can you beat the fact that Cisco Just Works?"  Fair enough.  Cisco just works.  But how do you know that HP doesn't just work if you have never actually used their gear?  What about Dell or Broadcom or Juniper?  To answer the question of your original post, the only way to really answer it is by you going out and demoing another vendor to make the comparison for yourself.

                                   

                                  Let's both do it and compare our findings.  I think it would be interesting.  I will be talking to an HP rep in the next couple of weeks.

                                   

                                  One last thing.  I totally agree with Anthony when he stated that the core should be cisco and the access layer HP.  Cisco has always excelled in the Core area.  But then again, I have not compared HP or Juniper to Cisco's core stuff for quite sometime.  Re-evaluating is a good thing.  If vendors know that you re-evaluate, it keeps them competitive for your business.

                                  • 14. Re: Cisco - Why shouldn't I buy HP?
                                    Joshua Johnson - CCNP R&S

                                    Jared, I value your opinion.  I feel you may be getting defensive.  Let me read this essay you've prepared for me here...

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