When the sales grunt talks about investment protection, its sure sign that they have run out of features, functions or value propositions to sell you. But do you really need investment protection or is it just another revenue stream for vendors (and a cost for you).
You only need investment protection when:
- the asset purchased is very expensive.
- the technology is costly to deploy making replacement also costly.
- the solution / application is hard to replace for uptime or risk reasons.
Investment protection is common vendor commitment that a costly product will be able to last long enough to return value to the business.
In networking, chassis-based switches have been all of these three things. The 3-layer hierarchy driven by Spanning Tree needed:
- vertically scaled high capacity (expensive),
- mission critical hardware (expensive deployment)
- the core of the network. (hard to replace for uptime and risk).
The need for investment protection could be removed by
- purchasing lower cost assets that have less intrinsic value and can be replaced earlier.
- choosing designs that are simple to replace or upgrade
- by products that are reliable and trustworthy. Such products do not need maintenance
Replacing a STP/Hierarchy network with an ECMP network means that the network doesn’t need investment protection.
- horizatonal scale of low cost 1RU units
- simple deployment since spine if multiple units.
- can be upgraded/modified at moderate to low risk.
Do You Understand The Difference ?
If you choose the traditional network design in the data centre, WAN or Campus then you are almost certainly choosing to have investment protection.
IT infrastructure is changing and there are new technologies and architectures that do not need investment protection:
- cost is low enough that hardware maintenance exceeds cost of purchases
- design model allows for horizontal scale out for linear growth
- multi-modeal infrastructure means non-critical services run on non-critical (i.e. cheap) hardware/software.
You may not be familiar with these design methods. You may not feel they are trusted, proven or many other things that ‘prevent’ you from considering them. But options exist to avoid “investment protection” which you can choose in the right design scenario. Your employer may not need to protect the investment and could use the money to improve its balance sheet instead of the vendors.
Worth thinking about ?