A few days ago I came across an article on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as it related to networking by Art Wittmann of InformationWeek. The article is based on survey of companies and their perspective on multivendor based networks. He argues that vendors like Cisco have come out strongly against research on multivendor networks. Art promotes the idea that Cisco is the one living the myth, as the Cisco PR would like you to believe otherwise. I found the article interesting for a couple of reasons.
Acquisition cost vs. operational cost
It is fairly well known in the networking circles that acquisition cost is just a fraction of the overall lifecycle cost. I have seen research numbers as high as 70 percent of total life cycle cost spent on operations (post acquisition). HP has recognized this fact and has fostered innovation to optimize operational activities with single pane of glass management, network virtualization, lifetime warranties, integrated services, reducing carbon footprint and energy efficient technologies. A 2010 IDC White Paper sponsored by HP found that enterprises using HP networking were able to reduce the total cost of networking by 66% compared to non-HP networks. Most of those benefits were achieved over the operational life of the networking gear as opposed to acquisition cost of the networks.
Single vendor vs. multivendor
It is hard for me to fathom that any one particular company will have the resources and expertise to be the best in every aspect of the network. There is always another company working out of a garage in Silicon Valley with new and innovative way of solving customer problem. I have read the comments on Art’s article that argue it is self-serving for research firms, and that single vendor gives customers a single back to pat on. It is true that single vendor gives you a single throat to choke, so to say. But will that give you the best network infrastructure? Or are you settling for a good enough network with a higher cost to acquire and operate?
Where “flex” comes into play
HP has always been a big proponent of standards based solutions, building ecosystem of partners to deliver the industry’s best solutions for customers. A key characteristic of the recently launched FlexNetwork architecture is openness and standards based building blocks enabling smooth integration at the network boundaries. FlexNetwork is an end-to-end architecture that encompasses datacenter, campus and branch with a comprehensive management across the entire network. Delivering a consistent experience, FlexNetwork is:
In his article, Art talks about how it is becoming hard to charge a premium for vendors when the features are not significantly unique or in some cases not the best, as in the case of management and automation. Having multiple disparate management platforms adds to operational cost.
With HP FlexManagement, a single SOA-based platform delivers single pane of glass to configure, manage, monitor and automate from datacenter to branch network. With solutions like Intelligent Management Center (IMC), the platform can manage over 2600 different devices with over a 1000 of them from Cisco, a true multivendor management within a single platform.
If you haven’t already, take a minute to read Art’s article and let me know what you think.
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