Government agency frustrated with Cisco

Cisco Systems, Inc. is very well known among network managers and has delivered solid products over the years. Jeff Duke says that is part of the reason he ultimately wound up with Cisco shelfware in his network in Indianapolis.

The senior network engineer for the state of Indiana reports he was — and still is — a satisfied Cisco customer, but one purchase fell short of the vendor’s promise and became shelfware.

“We use CiscoWorks for everything in our network, and I bought into using Cisco’s VPN/Security Management Solution as well a few years back,” Duke says. “Now it’s major shelfware. No one on my team ever used it.”

For one, Duke reports he didn’t get past the basic installation process of this particular Cisco security product . The user interface “wasn’t very intuitive” and he says the product itself became too “complicated and difficult to learn.”

Considering it was a one-off purchase, Duke cut his losses, stopped investing his time in trying to configure it and no longer pays maintenance on the product sitting on his shelf today.

He admits he could have asked Cisco to help him with the product and never did. “I am sure they’d be willing to sell me new software if I had asked,” he says.

Instead, Duke adapted his use of CiscoWorks to also include managing the VPN concentrators, VPN routers and firewalls the other product promised to address. Duke doesn’t entirely regret the purchase and still values Cisco as a vendor.

“I learned that not everything a company sells has the same value,” he says. “CiscoWorks the suite is awesome, and we could not get by without it. But now I know not all of Cisco’s add-ons are necessarily must-haves for our IT shop.”

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