If you want Cisco to deliver it’s “in for a penny, in for a pound” says University of Westminster

By Peter Gothard
11 Apr 2014 View Comments
Brocade ICX6430C12 switch

The University of Westminster is coping with the IT needs of 25,000 students by sticking with incumbent supplier Brocade, believing a move to another supplier, such as Cisco, would require too much of an "end-to-end" commitment.

The newly-installed deployment, based around Brocade's MLX series of core routers, has already served 21,000 devices, with as many as 3,500 devices connected to the network at one time.

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Daniel Halter, head of IT Infrastructure at the University of Westminster, decided to stick with an incumbent supplier over a new vendor after a careful tendering process.

"Our key requirements were a 10Gigabit Ethernet, and to move the array from lab to network spanning the WAN, so with HP and Brocade as our incumbents they both came back with fairly compelling cases," Halter told Computing.

"But we went with Brocade because it looked less complex, and it had a single protocol to address the limits in availability, whereas HP had two. It also had the biggest footprint of the kit, and [HP] wasn't as clean either, as the HP solution let out more carbon."

Halter said the university had also considered Juniper and Cisco at one point.

"We've had experience with Juniper and Junos [Network Operating System] before, and before that we had some Cisco," said Halter.

"With Juniper and Junos, because the CLI [command-line interface] was significantly different with a whole networking team - we had only a team of three using it in the past, which worked - it would be quite an overhead to carry, and the team would have to go round digging because it wasn't the CLI they were exposed to frequently.

"We've never really been a big Cisco partner at all," admitted Halter, "and it might be my own personal view, but with Cisco it's ‘in for a penny, in for a pound'."

Halter added that "if you want the benefits they can deliver - which are undeniable - you almost need Cisco end to end; if you just drop elements of their technology into your environment, you don't always get the benefits".

"We always try to make sure we have a standardised environment, with standard code.

"Depending on who Cisco acquire, that can change," added Halter.

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