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Level 21

Re: is FSM dead?

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If I may offer a reply to dclick​ in his query to CourtesyIT​​ about a prevalence of anti-Cisco feelings, Cisco may have built some negative customer appeal through a variety of reasons:

  • Their Java-based GUI was pretty, but very slow and limited--therefore some people may have determined it was a bad product for their environment.  I'll go so far as to say their GUI was very frustrating to me, and a huge security risk.  Particularly when compared side-by-side with better-executed network GUI's like Nortel's Java Device Manager.  And it added ton of bloat to the memory requirements of their equipment, which was accompanied by much longer download times for the IOS code, due to the size of the GUI files.  Which was another potential negative to deal with.
  • Rather than developing something for the greater good, from scratch, Cisco may be perceived by some to do what's best for Cisco--possibly at the expense of a smaller competitor or niche market venture.  For example, they might buy any smaller company with a useful product, and then re-brand it as Cisco.  Well, this is the normal way of business, and it's not that Cisco's bad.  It's that they have the money, and the ability to do this.  But folks who root for the little guy and the underdog may view it as a giant beating up on a tiny defenseless company.   Then maybe that company's employees are let go.  And you know who comes out looking like the bad guy . . .
  • Their products, like pretty much all vendors' products, do not necessarily arrive without bugs.  Some of those bugs can be pretty painful to we who support the networks that rely network hardware on which we've just installed the buggy code.  That problem is exaggerated and exacerbated by the extent to which Cisco's products are deployed.  Their market share is major.  A bug or hardware miss on their part may constitute a very large inconvenience to a huge percentage of all IT workers.  And we're the ones left performing 3 a.m. upgrades and patches and reboots on weekends, so the fewest number of our users are affected.  It doesn't mean Cisco's bad--only that they've sold a LOT of product.  I'm personally a victim of that, both with hardware flaws and with IOS bugs.  All the lost sleep doesn't make me a fan of theirs, but I must remember how reliable and fast my Cisco network is when I'm sleep deprived due to their inadvertent errors.
  • You'll likely spend some time at their web site searching for configuration answers and processes.  And if you're like me, you may have found that it's challenging to find the information you need quickly and successfully, due to the immense amount of products they have, and due to the prodigious quantity of documents they've stored for us to research.  The time spent with frustrating research could tend to color your opinion of their resources.  But what company doesn't have this problem?  The issue is that its your time that's being wasted.  Which might make you somewhat resentful.
  • Cost.  Their hardware might not always provide the best bang for your dollar.  Maybe you've got experience with another vendor's product and you like it--but it doesn't play nicely with your customers' networks or with your ISP's equipment, and you have to buy Cisco to get a particular job done.  You might resent that expenditure of dollars and hours.
  • Marketing.  The interactivity between the many Cisco products is a great way for them to get a foot in your door, and if you've ever been promised the moon and then received a little paper cut-out of the moon you'll have an idea of a potentially bad solution that could cause hard feelings.
  • Support.  From outsourcing jobs from the U.S. to third-world nations, to the fees they charge for Smart-Net contracts, to their potential inability to deliver on what they've promised (or on what you assumed), these might be places where people could become disaffected.

I suspect these, and similar ideas, may be why there's a big chip on some folks' shoulders towards Cisco.  I'm probably wrong, though.  Here's hoping I just didn't end my career by trying to help you understand other folks' opinions.

"Dear Cisco:  Please don't ruin my life, or that of my family, or my company, or my co-workers, or Thwack, or Solarwinds . . ."


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