A case against vendor-locking optical modules

Darden, Patrick Patrick.Darden at p66.com
Mon Nov 17 19:13:47 UTC 2014

You say lock in, they say loyalty....

Tell them loyalty is two ways, and you need them to help you remain a loyal customer.  To start with, a fantastic CLA.  Make sure it includes 15 minute new optics delivery in case of failure (since you can't keep spares on-site as they are too expensive.)  Technicians available without wait time to help you focus/finish/program them.  Not instant response to take a ticket, followed by a call within 4 hours, but instant response by a knowledgeable tech who finishes the call by filling out a ticket.  Etc.  

If they want vendor focused thinking on your part with concomitant committing of resources ($$), they need customer focused thinking on theirs.

They want your loyalty, awesome... let them know what it will take.  Remind them of how much money you will spend this year if they can get your lock in.

I'm just singing here.

-----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: [EXTERNAL]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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