A case against vendor-locking optical modules

Naslund, Steve SNaslund at medline.com
Mon Nov 17 18:20:09 UTC 2014

Let talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room and the #1 reason to hate vendor locked optics.  Some vendors (yes, Cisco I'm looking at you) want to charge ridiculously high prices for optic that are identical to generic optics other than the vendor lock.  Maybe a better tactic would be to have the vendor explain to you why the vendor lock is necessary.  You are after all the customer and don't owe them any explanations.

Steven Naslund
Chicago IL

-----Original Message-----
From: NANOG [mailto:nanog-bounces at nanog.org] On Behalf Of Jérôme Nicolle
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 12:12 PM
To: nanog at nanog.org
Subject: A case against vendor-locking optical modules


I'm having a discussion with Arista, trying to explain to them why I _can't_ buy any hardware unable to run with compatible optical modules.

My points are :

- I need specific modules, mostly *WDM and BiDi, some still unavailable in their product line

- I run at least two other vendors on every locations and can't stack up every spare optics for each of them, neither could remote-hands safely re-program optics to match a specific vendor when needed.

- I have an established relationship with a trusted optics supplier, providing support, warranty and re-coding hardware for their entire
(impressive) lineup. And this supplier is still 2-5x times cheaper than any vendor-labeled optics even with NFR-like discounts.

Based on these points, I discourage every customers of ever using locked-in equipments, and forbid them on my own network. Of course, Arista can't be pleased because their hardware never stepped chord in my customer's networks. But they seem to deliberatly miss my points every time the subject comes up.

What are other arguments against vendor lock-in ? Is there any argument FOR such locks (please spare me the support issues, if you can't read specs and SNMP, you shouldn't even try networking) ?

Did you ever experience a shift in a vendor's position regarding the use of compatible modules ?

Thanks !

Jérôme Nicolle
+33 6 19 31 27 14

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