Seven Myths of the Good-Enough Network


Editor’s Note: This is a post by Michael Rau, Vice President, CTO for the Borderless Network Architecture Cisco.

True or false: Networking has come such a long way that you can buy any inexpensive equipment and cobble together an excellent business network that can handle everything you need to do.

Admittedly, that’s a bit of a trick question as you can definitely put a “good enough” network together to handle your basic needs, getting data from point A to B.

But a next-generation network, one that can adapt and change to a business’ growing needs – mobile, voice, video, to name a few – is something else entirely.

We all understand that negotiating the best price for goods and services always makes good business sense. 

But some networking industry and industry commentators believe that the value of a network should be determined only by the cost of its components. They argue that customers should focus squarely on acquisition cost, not the value of their network assets, that customers should focus on capital cost, not network capability and innovation. The believe is that the network has become a utility; that “good” is good enough.

When it comes to your own network, there are two schools of thought: 1) that getting the lowest possible price up front is paramount (the “good enough” network) or 2) making a more strategic, next-generation network investment means your business can quickly adapt to the increased demands of today’s (and tomorrow’s applications). Things like video, voice, mobile, and who knows what other applications the future will bring.

This debate has fueled numerous myths and misperceptions in our industry. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be tackling the seven most misleading Myths of the Good Enough Network.

Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ll be covering:

1. The Application and Endpoint Ignorant Myth: Good enough networks typically operate on the notion that data is data—all just ones and zeroes.  More sophisticated next-generation networks are built on products that adjust to the application being delivered and the endpoint device on which it appears.

2. Basic QoS Myth: If a company has no plans for video applications or rolling out virtual desktops, a good enough network and basic QoS may suffice. But if the business wants to take advantage of voice, video, or mission-critical applications then they need to invest in the QoS capabilities available in an enterprise next-generation network.

3. Single-Purpose Myth: Sure getting data from point A to point B is important. But investing in networks for a single purpose means missing opportunities to use the power of the network to improve carbon footprint, save energy costs, and provide unified management for wired and wireless networks.

4. Basic Warranty Myth: Service contracts and warranties are not created equal. You usually get what you pay for. Unfortunately, you never realize how good a service contract is until you need it. Be prepared and look at the fine print.

5. Security as a Bolt-On Myth: Network security has to keep pace with an ever-changing threat profile and the increased use of mobile devices. When different security elements don’t share information, it magnifies the challenge of creating consistent security across the entire IT environment and can leave the customer exposed to costly security incidents.

6.  Acquisition Cost Myth: When building an IT network, about 20% of the budget is for acquiring the hardware and 80% is for operating costs. If customers don’t assess the complete financial impact, building a tactical network can quickly become the more expensive network. Perhaps even more importantly, companies that settle for tactical networks will miss out on the business benefits and customer engagement enabled with a next-generation network.

7. Just Look for Standards Myth: While industry standards are extremely important, relying only on existing standards as you plan for future needs is misguided. When companies lock themselves into standards-based, good-enough networks, they miss out on higher-level service innovation.

Have you had any experience with any of these “good enough networking” myths?  What are some of the other myths that you’ve hearing in the industry?

If you’re interested in learning more about the seven myths Cisco recently held a 45-minute webcast hosted by Cisco EVP of Worldwide Operations, Rob Lloyd, and Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of NYC-based BlueWater Communications.  Cisco also recently released a white paper designed to debunk the myths of the good enough network.

Read the White Paper: When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

View the IPTV Broadcast: Debunking the Myth of the Good Enough Network

About the Author

Michael Rau, Vice President, CTO for the Borderless Network Architecture Cisco.

Mike has been with Cisco for 14 years and is currently responsible for working with customers and partners. In his current role, he helps shape the future direction of the network and how it delivers business value to customers and partners. Prior to this, Mike was the Vice President of WW Enterprise Technical Sales Strategy where he was responsible for developing technical and competitive sales strategies in support of Cisco’s Enterprise go-to-market strategy. Mike has held a variety of other positions at Cisco, starting as a Systems Engineer where he supported Cisco’s entrance into the switching market.