This week, Cisco held Cisco LiveMilan. The HP blog was very active in their SDN messaging against the Cisco message.
- Don’t let Cisco’s twists and turns derail your SDN
- Cisco’s “SDN”: 4 pointed questions you really should ask
One comment on twitter mentioned the awkwardness of one vendor attacking another, and these posts can certainly been seen to do just that. I mean, I’m all for proving that my solution is better than another, but I prefer the proof in the pudding approach rather than throwing stones. So as I read these posts, I couldn’t help bit take a defensive stance for Cisco. Here are my initial thoughts.
Cisco Was Dismissive of SDN Initially, But…
Now they have a solution, whether it be proprietary or not. The HP article calls ACI a “lone-wolf proprietary architecture.”
Cisco customers are used to proprietary. Ask every network that’s running EIGRP.
Cisco Can Sell You One Thing And 6 Months Later Have Another Story…
On the topic of ACI the HP article says “Cisco can, and without any hesitation, sell you one thing and in less than 12 months sell you a completely different story.” That made me chuckle. Apple told people they had the best iPad ever built. 12 months later they show everyone a new iPad and tell them Its the best iPad ever made. People bought the new iPad. The point is that apple keeps feeding the market something they will buy. So is Cisco. People will buy ACI.
The Other HP Post…
The other HP post lists four questions to ask.
- How big is this job going to be? <— Yes, that’s a good one!
- Got open standards and interoperability?<– We already know the answer to that.
- How hard is it to manage? <– Absolutely, you definitely want to know that!
- Do you have a store where I can get cool SDN apps? <— This one I also had a chuckle at.
Do you have a store where I can get cool apps? Really, should this read, “Do you have a store that lists all the apps that play nice with us?” Maybe that’s not the case, but still, the store with the apps would probably be one of the last things I would think to ask.
Boss: So fancy network guru of mine. Have you found an SDN solution?
Fancy Network Guru: Yes sir, we are considering ACI with Cisco. We’re already using Cisco all over the network. We have our IT staff trained in Cisco technology and we see some interesting things with their leaf-spine architecture and how the APIC controls things. It’s different than the standard SDN controller architectures where the control plane is sitting on the controller, but we can do some cool things with it.
Boss: But does Cisco have a cool app store where we can get SDN apps?
Fancy Network Guru: uh…. they….. uh…
So Cisco Is Better Right?
I’m not saying the Cisco ACI solution is better than HP’s Open Flexible Approach. All I’m saying is that there are two sides to the argument, and until you dig into the F&B’s of each you can’t really say either way. So don’t let a blog post that appears at the tail end of a user conference be the deciding factor. Ask the questions that are important to you. Hear each vendor out. Choose the solution that really fits with your business vision. If you don’t, you could end up sorry in the long run.
I’m not taking sides for either party on this, rather I’m encouraging the network gurus charged with procuring a solution to do their homework beyond the blogs. Cisco ACI is a unique approach to SDN in light of the way the rest of the industry envisions it. The HP SDN solution is a very mature solution in terms of SDN and that holds value. Do a POC and let the products speak for themselves.