Cisco Also Ran Solutions for Real-Time Reliability

Hyperconnectivity will make the enterprise more dependent on its network than ever before. Real-time UC, security, building management, telemetry, asset tracking and hazmat management will drive the need for real-time reliable networks with extremely fast restoration times to avoid impacting these applications when failures occur.

In November Cisco introduced its Virtual Switching System (VSS), which they claim to be 'innovative'. The good news is that Cisco finally acknowledges that their legacy approaches (e.g. a combination of multiple per VLAN fast spanning trees and IP routing techniques) just can't meet the needs of the hyperconnected enterprise: too complex, too ineffective and too slow for real-time apps.

So is this a leap-frog strategy or a me-too strategy? I would suggest it's an also-ran strategy. Let me explain.

Did you know that we have had switch clustering for 6 years (you may know this as Split Multi Link Trunking- SMLT), meeting the needs of demanding customers such as the NY Times, Mumbai International Airport and the Vancouver Olympic Committee? Cisco innovation claim is hollow!

Did you know Cisco's VSS requires high-end I/O modules and 10GigE inter-switch links, and comes with a price tag in the $200K range? Real-time reliability is not just a core network requirement of enterprises with deep pockets! Resiliency should be end to end and available to all. Our approach spans our entire portfolio of Ethernet modular and stackable switches and operates over a range of links speeds.

Did you know that VSS provides double density with half the brains? In technical terms, two switches look like one, but there is only a single active Supervisor/CPU Module. Our approach uses an active-active architecture across up to 4 switches with no single points of failure.

Do you want some added perspective? Take a look at Phil Edholm's blog.

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I would assume as technology becomes more advanced and manufacturers try to keep up with the competition; the demand for more wireless connectivity in business is going to put pressure on Cisco to make it happen.

Tony replies: Not just Cisco, but all WiFi vendors. Unwired will increasingly become a substitute for wired connectivity. We call this the 'unwired enterprise'.

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