It’s a debate that raises its ugly head time and time again. And there are ferocious arguments for each approach, ranging from ease of management, lower total cost of ownership and having a single vendor to point an angry finger at when issues inevitably arise.
It’s a resounding argument that is particularly pronounced when putting Cisco against its direct competitors: HP, Juniper Networks and Huawei.
So gloves on, let’s settle this, once and for all. Is it more efficient to pursue a single or multi-vendor approach when it comes to your network architecture?
Although there is never a clear answer to which of the two is a better option and you must consider the individual needs of your company, let us put forward a persuasive case as to why a multi vendor approach is the way to go in 2016.
- Lower TCO. A Gartner Report, “Debunking the Myth of the Single-Vendor Network“* states that the total cost of ownership (TCO) for most organisations is lower for those with multi-vendor networks, because of the ability to shop around for lower prices on equipment which in-turn reduces a lack of control on costs due to a virtual monopoly being enjoyed by your sole vendor partner. Finance Approval? Tick.
- Best of breed Technology. Building the most efficient and secure network infrastructure in a rapidly changing IT landscape is a relentless and complex task. By pursuing a “best-of-breed” approach to technology selection, you arm your company with a powerful weapon: rather than being at the mercy of a single vendor, you are able to chose individual market-leading products aimed at solving your specific business needs and technical problems. Choice is power.
- Boredom. Probably not what you expected to see on the list. But let’s face it, just like Valentino Rossi loves to lay it into the latest and greatest thing on two wheels. So do network engineers. Well to some extent. They like new toys to play with; it keeps them interested. It keeps them entertained. So next time you go to lay out some cash and procure a Cisco switch identical to the other 30 in the stack; think about the boredom tax this adds to your team and also think about the cost of staff turnover and loss of skills and morale. Finance approval? Tick. HR approval? Tick.
- Reduced risk. Remember when your mother told you: “never keep all of your eggs in one basket”? Turns out she was right…. again. You want your vendors to supply you with equipment, feature upgrades, and support for years to come, right? If you chose to have all of your networking equipment with a single vendor you put a lot of confidence and trust in that one vendor. And that vendor may become fat, dumb and happy.. aka FDH Syndrome. If your sole chosen vendor in networking equipment knows the next Purchase Order is almost guaranteed to come their way, they may become lazy. Unfortunately for you, this may see your discounts and service levels take a dive as they devote their attention and resources to winning business with new clients.
- QoS. Introducing multiple vendors to the mix keeps the big guys on their toes. In a competitive environment, it pays to keep your vendors honest. And not just financially. The real savings are accrues when it comes to meeting their service, and support obligations as well as delivering operational efficiencies. If you have a sole provider, you run the risk that they will become fat, dumb and happy. Why would they go above and beyond to support you when they know the next sale is coming their way regardless? A multi-vendor approach gives you the power to identify poor performers and eliminate them. Repeat after me: “I’ve got the power!!!”.
As IT Managers fight tooth, skin and nail to make the most out of scarce IT dollars, constructing an agile and value-adding network infrastructure in a rapidly changing environment is a tough task. Companies must leverage the benefits of multi-sourcing and take advantage of specialised technologies that can meet a broad range of business and technology requirements in order to stay leaps and bounds in front of the competition and provide the best ROI. ICT Team approval? Tick.
*Gartner Report: G00208758
Debunking the Myth of the Single-Vendor Network
Analyst(s): Mark Fabbi | Debra Curtis
Enterprises use the perception that the simplicity of managing a single-vendor network justifies sole-sourcing an increasing amount of network purchases. After interviewing a diverse group of organizations that uses a dual-vendor strategy, our findings present a compelling alternate position