Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC
Rolling Review Wrap-Up: Vendors' RFP Responses Make The Case For Switching
An organization distributes a request for proposal when it's thinking about making a vendor switch or substantially upgrading an existing system. We invited several companies to respond to an RFP specifying a new network architecture for TacDoh, a fictional, fast-growing purveyor of deep-fried desserts. In its RFP, TacDoh aimed to simplify management, unify its architecture, incorporate voice over IP, and add security features.
Wowing potential customers is important to vendors responding to RFPs because incoming vendors have a hard time supplanting incumbents.
That incumbent vendor is most likely Cisco: The company dominates in the access, distribution, and core switching layers as well as the data center. Interestingly, for all the complaining we hear about Cisco from peers, IT administrators, and CIOs, in a recent InformationWeek Research survey of 295 technology pros, 76% of respondents say they'd prefer to purchase Cisco gear, followed by Hewlett-Packard ProCurve at 22%, then everyone else.
We didn't position this RFP-based Rolling Review as "anyone but Cisco," but Cisco declined to participate, citing resource issues. We received responses from five other vendors: Alcatel-Lucent, Extreme Networks, Foundry Networks, HP ProCurve, and 3Com.
Alcatel-Lucent, HP ProCurve, and 3Com all made our short list because their proposed network designs hit all of our requirements, with resilience and advanced features to support TacDoh's VoIP and security initiatives.
HP ProCurve is the best value because it came in with the lowest price and the company has the best no-cost warranty, with free software upgrades and a lifetime next-day replacement program for hardware--options that other vendors, including Foundry and Extreme, charge for.
But that doesn't mean Foundry and Extreme were second-rate: Foundry presented a strong set of products for data center computing, and its recently announced acquisition by Brocade should boost its position in the market. We like some of the advanced features Extreme offered, such as event scripting. But Extreme is a pure-play switch vendor, and its limited product line puts it at a disadvantage and made it a poor choice for TacDoh.
Recommended For You
Developing and managing a network budget is hard work for network professionals, who often get hit with new projects that they know nothing about. Is there a better way to manage network spending?
Making the jump from outdated legacy technology to a more modern digital infrastructure will allow businesses to innovate at the speed and scale needed in today’s marketplace.
The business world is speeding up. The longer IT leaders wait to get their needs met, the more at risk their businesses and their jobs will be.