I’ve been evaluating Cisco Nexus products for a customer. So far, its taken more than 10 hours to check which product licenses are required for each platform. And I’m still not confident that I’ve got it correct and accurate. The licenses are convoluted and I’m really worried that I’ll pick a license and miss the features that I need.
So I checked with the reseller engineer and he doesn’t know either, “that is more of a sales thing” he said. The inside sales person said “I’ll need to the engineer to advise me on that”.
I once worked on a project with staff from Cisco Professional Services where it took 3 days to build and validate the bill of materials – specifically on the software licensing required for some Nexus switches. At the standard rate of USD$3000 per day for Cisco PS plus my agency day rate at $1500/day, that bill of materials cost the client $13,500. Total vendor purchase was approx. $200,000.
Some time ago, I met with a company that has networking licensing team. These people have a full-time position managing the licensing of network software. Not hardware, just software, feature licenses, maintenance programs. So operating a network means we will soon have licensing professionals ? Microsoft has a certification for “Volume Licensing Specialist” to manage the complexity of administration. That’s ridiculous.
I last ranted about Cisco licensing in September 2012 Rant: Cisco claims “We’re Listening” to Simplifying Cisco Software Licensing – EtherealMind. Two years later and not much has changed.
While I’m wasting time reading manuals about licensing, I’m not working on an SDN Strategy or adding value to the network. That expensive network equipment with a shedload of useful features isn’t returning the investment I promised.
The CIO and project managers complain about long lead times, knows that this isn’t getting value from the investment. We all feel helpless in the face of vendor business models because we just wants to get the job done and improve the network.
There is no right answer here. But the cost of selecting software licenses is getting to be more than the licenses. That’s ridiculous.