I just came back from a 3 day customer session we held in Vancouver, where we had a chance to discuss all aspects of networking and communications with some 20 Nortel customers from across North America. One of the topics was around the training requirements associated with introducing Nortel into a Cisco data network, in some cases, funding this transition by avoiding the Cisco energy tax.
One of the customer examples we gave was of a news agency with 3 newspapers in a major US city that replaced their Cisco network with Nortel. During the RFP process, the customer compared proposals from Nortel and Cisco, and chose Nortel. Cisco came back not once but three times (including proposing 4500’s in the wiring closets to meet the need for redundant power), but the preferred solution and the one selected was the Nortel one (we stayed with our original design proposal). Some of the reasons included price/performance, reliability, energy efficiency and TC0.
At first, the CCIEs on staff expressed concern of the new skills required to engineer and operate a Nortel solution. They bluntly said “why change to a new technology platform?” Over 18 months since the decision was made, the CCIE concerns have not materialized. With a couple of days of incremental training, CCIEs were able to apply their extensive skills in Ethernet, IP, routing, VLANs etc to become highly proficient in the chosen Nortel solution.
Bottom-line, reject Cisco FUD that there are huge training hurdles with moving to a Nortel solution.