I recently bought a package of cheap razors. They were $3.99 for 6 razors and they look just like my Schick Hydro razor. They even have that neat hydrating strip. The difference is that the hydrating strip on the cheap razor is just a different colored piece of plastic and while it has six blades on it, I might as well be trying to drag a yard rake across my face. What’s my point? Paying less for something isn’t always a good idea. The same holds true for networking equipment.
Building the Business Case for Cheap Gear
Lately I’ve been working on a development project related to network design and there is a section that talks about building a business case for a technology. In that section of the printed text it says that one should consider off-brand gear when you receive pushback on the known vendors. What? So basically if I present something to the boss, lets say a Cisco solution, but my organization doesn’t want to pay Cisco prices, then I should present a “cheaper” option. Perhaps this should be something that “looks” like Cisco but may very well be a cheaper knock-off? That type of thinking doesn’t seem sound to me, and you’re probably thinking the same thing.
What does sound a little better to me is taking into consideration the many well-known networking vendors like Arista, Juniper, HP, Dell and so on. Comparing some of these companies is still going to get you varying levels of quality and price, but probably not when it comes to hardware. The greater variation is likely going to be the networking OS as opposed to the hardware itself. This is largely due to the fact that several vendors are now using off-the-shelf hardware, perhaps adding a little twist.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Cheap Razors
Most of my readers can identify the garbage out there versus the quality equipment. We don’t have to search far for the garbage because garbage stinks and our sense of smell is pretty good. Walk the aisle of any networking conference and you’ll see what I mean. They’re aggressive within their sales team because they know they have that ever so slight advantage with organizations that want to save a buck. But you can make a difference. You can make sure that those cheap razors stay on the shelf and not in your networking closet. Just say no to cheap razors. You’re face will thank you later.