Watch out Cisco. Huawei’s coming!

In this piece, Stacey talks about the arrival of Huawei in America.

When Huawei arrived in Europe about three/four years ago, Cisco lost a LOT of business especially when BT and other carriers changed their standard purchase to include Huawei on the approved list. Huawei had a rocky start with widely known hardware failures and software bugs. Since the noise has died down, I’m guessing they got them sorted. Or people got used to working with Huawei. Lets face it, working with any big vendor (HP, DELL, IBM, Cisco etc) means that you have to work their way or you don’t get the answers/solutions.

And a reader from Kenya tells me that Huawei is beginning to impact Cisco’s business in Africa too. The cheaper price of the kit is just too tempting for poorer economies.

Price pressures on the big vendors are going to cause changes. It’s just a question of when.

Watch out Cisco. Huawei’s coming! — Cloud Computing News.

  • NigelT

    We recently migrated our multi site leased line network using in-house Cisco routers to a managed MPLS solution using Huawei routers. Our Cisco routers had zero hardware issues in five years, in six months we have had a number of Huawei hardware failures, usually line cards. From my perspective, they still have reliabilty problems to sort out.

    • Calin C.

       Lately, the only thing that matters is COST. I can accept that somebody is willing to pay less, but then you are expected to make some concession. Nothing is free in this world. I’m not against innovation and cheaper products, but some marketers out there wants to make me believe that I can achieve the same quality paying almost nothing.

      It’s not hardware, but I had the same experience with Service Providers. I don’t want to fingerpoint, so let’s say that a while ago the company that I was working with decided to changed the stable provider X for provider Y, because it was so cheap. The result? After 2 years of struggle with the provider Y, during which I got crazy (bad communication, lack of knowledge even from L3 team in provider Y and unstable line which were down 15-35% every month) we finally got back to provider X. So, I’m asking where is the cost saving? At least in this move, I don’t see any.

      • Ryan Malayter

        Of course, the problem is, Cisco doesn’t seem to offer superior quality anymore. The number of software-induced outages we’ve suffered in the last three years on Cisco kit has me budgeting for replacing it all with gear from other vendors.

        Cisco’s hardware reliability is still good, but good luck finding a stable IOS release these days. There’s a reason so many shops run old code on their Cisco kit. Every new release is an adventure in bug-hunting, and it shouldn’t be in a mature software code base.

        Even if you assume (wrongly) that you also have to do the bug-hunting with non-Cisco kit, why not pay less money up front and far less in maintenance than you do with Cisco?

        • Calin C.

          I totally agree with you Ryan and I think Cisco is a little bit confused about where and how they want to be known as. They want to be present in all sectors from home user to enterprise and this makes them not to pay attention to details. I don’t want to look for excuses, but this is also due today’s IT environment where everybody is in a constant hunt to save some cents migrating to other vendors.

          I want to make a parallel, as maybe my thoughts aren’t clear expressed here. Remember that Firefox had quite a long cycle between releases, until a while ago? Now, why did they changed that? The releases were more stable with old release cycle than today, but the competitors force them to do this in my eyes. When you are releasing one product in a year and your competitor releases 4-5 / year, then media and all IT environment is all about the company that releases this multiple product a year and tend to forget the other company even if their one product / year is 100% functional. My point is that it seems nobody is making anymore a head-to-head analyze between two products. With the financial constrains from the last years, I have the impression that the focus is on cost and the question “can we live with that?” (in case you buy cheaper product even if you know about some serious issues with that product).

          Maybe I don’t have as much (life) experience as other people on this blog , but this is how I see things at my age and with my professional background.

  • Stefan H.

    Huawei is really cheap. This is very attractive for the management which wants to reduce the IT budget every year.
    But Cisco has also enough self-made problems: Some of their “innovative” new products are not as stable as you would expect from a enterprise-class vendor. Why should someone pay the “enterprice-class” prices, if you could get the same implementation problems also for half the price?

    PS: I would always prefer Cisco over Huawei. Because of the urban legend, that they may have backdoors for the MSS and the fact that there were Cisco copyrights in former Huawei sourcecodes . 😉

  • Robert Larsen

    I remember first coming across Huawai in the late 90s.  They had Cisco 2600 and 3600 clones on the market, which looked exactly like the real deal except they were a different colour.  It was telling that you could slot in a Cisco NM or WIC, and it would work.  Even more telling was that they had the same bugs in their software as those found in Cisco’s IOS (10.x and 11.x at the time).

    Cisco launched a lawsuit against Huawei for a whole load of infrigements, which went on for a year or two.  Then, suddenly, Cisco dropped the lawsuit.  The rumour that went round the industry at the time was that the Chinese government had intervened and told Cisco that if they didn’t drop the lawsuit then they wouldn’t be able to sell a single box in China in the future.

    Of course, that was the rumour — I have no proof either way as to whether it was true or not.

  • Alexandra Stanovska

    Is Huawei still offering support the way “pay hotel and expenses of 5 Chinese programmers for 6 months and they’ll get this done for you”? :-) As my boyfriend experienced in his previous job. Unfortunately OPEX made their initially cheap purchase looking no that good over longer term period. Maybe they were just unlucky and wanted features that they discovered are not actually present, compared to other expensive competing vendors (I am talking about 3G equipment in this case).

  • Chaise Major

    Huawei have been in Europe since the late 90’s, at the time selling through little known distributors who presumably had the contacts back in China, I bumped into them at a trade show (infosec?) way-back. They had literally 1 guy in Europe.

    We can expect Cisco routers to go the same way as every other product does when this sort of thing happens. 80% of the market that doesn’t _need_  all the Cisco features/stability/TAC/etc will go Huawei, and the service providers and other handful of high end enterprise guys will stick with what they know.

    This is already happening with their storage/NAS platforms, a fraction of the cost of Dell etc, and next year it is going to be servers as they will be making that push in 2013.

  • Leo Song

    I am not certain sure that the cost really matters, especially in DC environment. What customers are looking for is something that is stupid simple, instead of some sort of giant with tons of fancy features from which no one would even bothers to take advantage, not to mention that will surely intense the finger pointing game. If the problems we are dealing in DC is so easy to trace to a single point of hardware failure, and a simple hardware swap will resolve the issue. I would argue who doesn’t want to implement such product. Stability is the key, but IMHO, the ability of identify the root cause in today’s complexing computing environment is more critical. After all, we cannot get the rid of nor prevent the problems from happening, but we have to solve it.

  • Maksym Tulyuk

    Huawei’s strategy is to put minimum numbers in price list and gets maximum on support and upgrade i.e. cheap CAPEX and extra burden in OPEX. Unfortunately, network planners commonly see the cheap CAPEX only and leave the OPEX for operations. As a result, NOC hates both the equipment and colleagues who approved a purchase.

  • IJdo D

    About 6 or 7 years ago the company I was working for at the time was looking at Huewei network equipment to be able to provide customers with a cheaper alternative to Cisco. Never panned out, as the low end switches had enough other brands competing, and the cost savings in the high end weren’t big enough to justify going with an unknown brand. (or that’s the story we were told, anyway :P)