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North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Networking Pearl Harbor in the Making

  • From: Tom Sands
  • Date: Mon Nov 07 14:17:58 2005



How do the operators/engineers explain to 'management', or whomever asks,
the 'training issues' that always crop up when more than one vendor are
proposed? Has anyone had good luck with this arguement? (my answer is sort
of along the lines of: "Its just a router, no matter the vendor and they
all have command-line help" but that's not always recieved well :) )

Just curious as I'm sure there are folks stuck in an all vendor X shop who
look over the electronic fence and see vendor Y with 'so much better' or
'so much faster' or 'so much more blinkly lighty'... and try to have their
management agree to purchasing new devices :)
We have that exact problem, if one considers it to be a problem. We have only vendor X, and we've often wanted to try out others. However, the management arguments and opinions are often difficult to sway.

For one, we have very few problems that are ever seen by customers or management. So, convincing them that diversity could buy us better reliability is near impossible. Then the additional cost of training and spare equipment. We also have the customer opinions/perception to deal with (accompanied by marketing), where they think having a "Cisco Powered Network" would automatically mean it's the best.

Despite not having service impacting problems, we do have a number of "bugs", however would those issues get better or worse when having to deal with multiple vendors, various platforms per vendor, and inter-operability?



Well, the last time I just whined a lot ? <grin>

Seriously, we actually put together a presentation that described a series of major events that have occurred through the use of monoculture networks/systems and stated that for many financial/ security reasons it is best to maintain at least two vendors.

We covered the following

o Security Implications: How monoculture networks/operating systems are prone to attack.
o Financial Impact: How managing multiple vendors can reduce long term expense.
o Stability: How monoculture networks/systems are prone to network/ system wide failures.
o Viability: How existing technology is capable of interop and how we, the engineering team, were capable of making it happen.
o Customer demand: How our customers actually "felt better" about our service as a result of it's genetic diversity.
We covered only a couple of these areas, and maybe addressing some of the others might make a better case.


Regards,

Blaine




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Tom Sands			  				
Chief Network Engineer				
Rackspace Managed Hosting	    	
(210)447-4065		   	
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