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Cisco Looking To Make Things Right With West Virginia

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the now-that-they're-caught-out,-anyway dept.

Government 182

alphadogg writes "Cisco has offered to 'take back' routers it sold to West Virginia if the state finds they are inappropriate for its needs, according to a post on wvgazette.com. The offer is in response to a state auditor's finding (PDF) that West Virginia wasted $8 million — and perhaps as much as $15 million — in acquiring 1,164 ISR model 3945 branch routers from Cisco in 2010 for $24 million in federal stimulus funds, or over $20,000 per router. The auditor found that hundreds of sites around the state — libraries, schools and State Police facilities — could have been just as suitably served with lower-end, less expensive routers."

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182 comments

First (-1, Troll)

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Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer? (1, Flamebait)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43059443)

Methinks Virginia should sue Cisco for FRAUD

$20,000 a router for library?

What is Cisco taking the citizens of Virginia for? Suckers??

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059471)

Methinks Virginia should sue Cisco for FRAUD

$20,000 a router for library?

What is Cisco taking the citizens of Virginia for? Suckers??

You realize Verizon actually sold the routers to WV, right? Of course not, why would anyone read about an issue before they comment.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43059639)

Read again, Cisco sold them and it is Cisco offering to take them back. You did read that right?

Of course not, why would anyone read about an issue before they comment.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

empties (2827183) | about a year ago | (#43059657)

Is it always the fault of the business partner? If only there was a recent precedent which shows that Cisco not only charges a premium, but an absurd premium, which can be on the back of the American tax payer. Of course there is such evidence. [networkworld.com] Fortunately the CSU system did their homework and saved $100 million and didn't get Ciscoed. (Apart from San Jose State, which clearly isn't known for its business school.)

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (3, Informative)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43059679)

Ahem, from the article:

" State auditors concluded that Cisco's sales staff showed "wanton indifference to the interest of the public." "

Seems pretty clear to me.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (4, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43060235)

You know, if you are buying something and have no clue what you need then this is what happens. They should take a long hard look at whoever decided to buy these things as they are the ones responsible for wasting taxpayers' money. Cisco is on the hot seat right now but if you went through what states buy line by line I'd be willing to bet big money that you'd find a lot more stuff like this. When people spend other peoples' money there sometimes is a tendency not to worry about it.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060541)

It's "IN the hot seat", not "ON the hot seat".

What is it with you Americans and pronouns? As, that, than, then, you don't seem to understand what simple words like that mean.

'Sense' instead of 'since'.
'Rediculous'
'Moran'

What the hell happened to your education system?

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060795)

Geez. You no, for all intensive proposes, your just picking on are grammer. If you has a problems with are education system just right a letter. You'd feel better than.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43061317)

They don't speak English anymore.

Otherwise they wouldn't use quite so many Zs
Since it's on topic, it's pronounced ZED not ZEE. As far as I can see it's only pronounced ZEE because of the nursery rhyme they teach 'kindergarten' pupils.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059475)

They bought massively overspecced routers. And this is Cisco's fault... how?

Cisco is only offering to take them back because the cost of taking them back and reselling them is way less than the cost of the bad publicity of a government agency whining that they spent way too much on a big-iron router for a library with two computers...

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059505)

They bought massively overspecced routers. And this is Cisco's fault... how?

It's not the fault of cisco. It's the fault of the cisco salesman/consultant who's job depends on telling the treasurer of the library that an expensive router will make kids learn better and faster and grow up to be sweet little angels and not serial killers.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43059585)

Or that unified platforms across 1000+ sites makes for cheaper support costs when the configs and hardware is identical. Though, given how it went down, they likely paid for Smartnet and Verizon gold-plated latinum level support contracts.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (5, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#43059841)

The requirements were that the sites had legacy T1's and similar and were being upgraded to fiber. Therefore the router had to have both legacy interfaces and high performance. That combination is awfully expensive and the 3945 is not an unreasonable choice.

It would have been much cheaper If the requirements had allowed for temporarily having two routers on the sites until the legacy T1's were taken down or alternatively allowed for an extra visit to the site to replace the router.

Trying to avoid an extra trip to each site is not stupid. Requiring both legacy and high speed interfaces is not stupid. Going for a unified platform is not stupid. However, a joint meeting with the pre-qualified bidders would likely have revealed the potential cost savings of making a compromise on the requirements. Alternatively, an independent consultant with just a little experience in the area should have spotted it.

The same thing happens in many of bids, not just in the IT sector. Seemingly reasonable requirements together mean that only very few vendors can bid and that they need their most expensive solutions to handle it.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060489)

hmmm, a 2901 ...will process 3+ Gb with 1500 byte packets. and it costs 15% ...
My company did the same wrong thing for a Internet edge router - we bought a 3900 when out Internet link was 150Mb) .... boss had "big dreams" , shame he did not read the tech docs.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | about a year ago | (#43061335)

Or they could just have waited until the day of the upgrade to fibre to install the new router?

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#43061443)

Thanks for the explanation. I'm glad to have learned something that helps me to understand stuff I don't know about.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059523)

Exactly, they're concerned about reputation.

They ought to be concerned about being lined up against a wall and shot in the head for being criminal scum.

What, you're going to be upset about corporate executives who cause grossly more harm than the average criminal on death row being mistreated?

Fuck you.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

sheehaje (240093) | about a year ago | (#43059805)

I agree... Maybe someone should look at WV's IT Networking staff. What a waste of stimulus money.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060331)

I can't comment at all on WV, but my experience is that most IT staff, incl. specialized or "specialized" IT staff, don't have much influence over such things.

A general trend in the industry is to de-prioritize internal expertise, esp. more specialized expertise, and to depend on outside support, esp. as it becomes more specialized. Where there is still expertise within internal IT staff, their concerns are easily ignored.

In some organizations, the people who make the final decision often have no technical background, or a limited background, or a "worked in IT 10 years ago" background, or a "specilized in IT management" background... or whatever... They are often people who do something because "this is how things are done in business". Even if such decisions are ostensibly made by competent people with a technical background, they may have been told how to make the decision by somebody else.

As said, I don't know about the VW situation but it wouldn't surprise me if a number of VW's IT networking staff saw the waste of money and disagreed with it.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

arobadog (246344) | about a year ago | (#43060169)

I completely agree.

What happened to the WV's bid process? I work for the Government, anything of this size would require a RFP and a selection committee. It is solely on WV's shoulders to select a competitive bid on infrastructure projects like this one. I hope the same group of people don't run their Road Commission or Real Estate contracts. What a sham...

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (5, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | about a year ago | (#43060673)

What happened to the WV's bid process?

I work in government too and more specifically in WV in the office where this occurred. I'll tell you what happened to the bid process. The incompetence of the state purchasing division is what happened. Their process is so painful and long that state agencies do everything they can to avoid using them. Even the former governor Joe Manchin got caught stringing contracts to avoid them when he was in office. I've had contracts languish over there for over a year.

In this case, an existing contract the state has to purchase minor items with Cisco was used for these big ticket items. So technically it was bid out. It just wasn't bid out for these routers. The agency got dinged for this misuse of the system and the spirit of the law.

Having said that, the whole process here in WV needs to be overhauled. It is too complex and way too lengthy to be useful especially when the funding is on a tight timeline like the stimulus funding was. That complexity and duration is what makes purchasing something to be avoided. It is only human nature to try to avoid the pain. I don't have a choice but to use them and dread it every time I do.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059555)

WV and Virginia are two completely separate states, have been for over 150 years... I think someone needs a map

Re: Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43061563)

I thout that Virginia collectively hated being called a "state" and refers to itself as a "commonwealth"?

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43060485)

That's exactly why they're trying to "make it right". This isn't generosity so much as damage control and a desperate attempt at "please don't sue us!". I'm sure if they hadn't been caught they would have been perfectly happy with the sales they made.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | about a year ago | (#43061363)

I suspect it's more about the negative publicity than "Please don't sue us". Cisco has incredibly deep pockets (mostly cost they sell $20k routers to 2 person part time libraries), and could tie anything like that up on court till the cows come home.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060595)

Methinks Virginia has no reason to sue Cisco, as it was a slave state and WEST Virginia was not.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (4, Insightful)

sjwt (161428) | about a year ago | (#43060603)

Government contracts don't work like that, You bid to meet the requirements, if you can not tick off every box as requested it is good by!

If you handed in a contract and it said "we can do as you requested and it will cost $15m, but if you do this it will only cost $2m" your submission may be thrown out, as its not your job to tell the government what to do. Government contracts are made to sound fair, but in reality it usually means the little guys got 0% and the big guys going to *have* to mark up to cover what the government thinks they need.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (4, Insightful)

scotts13 (1371443) | about a year ago | (#43060931)

Government contracts don't work like that, You bid to meet the requirements, if you can not tick off every box as requested it is good by!

If you handed in a contract and it said "we can do as you requested and it will cost $15m, but if you do this it will only cost $2m" your submission may be thrown out, as its not your job to tell the government what to do. Government contracts are made to sound fair, but in reality it usually means the little guys got 0% and the big guys going to *have* to mark up to cover what the government thinks they need.

THIS. I spent many years bidding equipment into the Education marketplace, and many, many, MANY times I had to meet bid specs that made no technical or financial expense. The mechanism for asking to have the spec revised is nonexistent or dangerous (as in, your company is dropped from consideration for trying to tamper with the bidding process). All through coverage of this story, I've never seen enough of the actually bidding process to make a determination - I've have to read the paperwork. But I strongly suspect Cisco did absolutely nothing wrong. They simply made the decision to make money for the company (however much), rather than making nothing.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060615)

Methinks Virginia should sue Cisco for FRAUD

$20,000 a router for library?

What is Cisco taking the citizens of Virginia for? Suckers??

First off, Cisco was not the retailer. They were purchased through a reseller, Verizon in this case.

Second, it is not Cisco's responsibility to ensure that the router is the right fit for the application. That is like me suing Best Buy for selling me a 70" 3D LED TV, when a 46" would have worked just as well- and calling it fraud.

Re:Should Virginia settle with a "take back" offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43061619)

Methinks Virginia should sue Cisco for FRAUD

$20,000 a router for library?

What is Cisco taking the citizens of Virginia for? Suckers??

If they sold them to VIRGINIA using money from WEST VIRGINIA... Yes, they need sued for fraud.

West Virginia has been its own state since 1863, thanks.

whaddayamean, wasted? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059423)

I bet those millions stimulated the creation of a nice boat or a mansion somewhere.

People in tech companies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059457)

...shouldn't be taking advantage of people who don't know any better. A salesmen tells them they need a thousand dollar router for their business even though a hundred dollar one would do the job just fine. It is in the best interest of the company to sell more zeros worth of product. But at the expense of taxpayer dollars? I draw a line.

Re:People in tech companies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059487)

The truth is that this is not news. Large companies talk taxpayer institutions out of money every day,

Re:People in tech companies... (1)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#43060549)

The truth is that this is not news. Large companies talk taxpayer institutions out of money every day,

Large companies talk other large companies out of money every day too. It's the way it's done.

Re:People in tech companies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059789)

This is a state dealing with a multi-million dollar contract. There are capable people that knew better. There's no excuse, on either side, for this ever having gone through.

I'm not qualified to judge the routing needs of a whole state, but even I can look at a list of 1,164 identical routers being deployed to single-wide mobile homes in the woods somewhere, being used as book storage, and know something is messed up. The router is worth more than the standing structure and the land it's on, combined. Now, there are a thousand cases where that makes sense? Not. Fucking. Likely.

This had to go through more than one person that should've said, "Hey, something is wrong here."

Re:People in tech companies... (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43061559)

The thing is though, it's the higher ups who make the decisions and THEY don't know any better.

Who in their right mind would let some CCNA Sys Admin with 30yrs of experience make a recommendation on buying Cisco Routers, when you could have some PHB whose having lunch with the salesperson?

There are capable people that probably did voice their objection, there just isn't any benefit for the company or decision maker to act on that objection.

Salespeople as nannies (4, Informative)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43060491)

I know I'm probably gonna get modded down for this, but what the heck....

Since when is it the responsibility of a company to tell customers what exactly they need? To use the famous Slashdot car analogy, if I am in a Lexus showroom and I am buying a car just for the sake of doing my usual daily stuff. I'm not a CEO or a VP trying to impress my company employees, I'm not a Hollywood star trying to do the same, I'm just someone from the street who's totally clueless on cars, and while I could just as easily have walked into a standard Toyota showroom, I happened to walk into one that sold Lexus.

Now, is it the moral duty of the sales guy there to tell me that I have no business buying a Lexus, and should instead look at a Camry? The parents suggestion seems reasonable, except that we're now expecting salespeople to sell people what they need, rather than what they want. Since when is it the role of salespeople to spoonfeed customers? What next - someone in Safeways who's checking out a coke being told that it's bad for him by the checkout clerk? Or being told not to buy gourmet bread from the store's bakery since that's more than what he needs, and instead being told to make do w/ standard items in the breads section.

In the above case, I understand that people shopping for the government of WV didn't have a clue. But that's where they could have used consultants to advise them on what to shop for. As it is, various governments make use of IT outsourcing services from various companies, and can easily ask them to (for a fee) advise them on the most appropriate equipment to buy, and from whom: WV could have done likewise. People look at middlemen as a scourge, but sometimes, when the stakes are high, it makes sense to use them to determine how to extract value for money. Like normally, I wouldn't bother asking someone how to shop for a computer or even a car. But if I were shopping for something I was unfamiliar w/, I'd either do the research myself, or if I was still not confident, I'd ask people I consider better than me at it how to go about it. Seems like this is something obvious that the WV government should have done.

Anyway, since Cisco has decided to do damage control in the PR perceptions, they might as well offer alternative replacements, as opposed to just cash, for overpriced equipment.

Re:Salespeople as nannies (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43061353)

I don't think your car (shopping) analogy holds up.

First off, the State of WV certainly has an IT division somewhere. They don't need a consultant to explain routers and so the clueless car shopper doesn't follow.

Rather, this is more like the state's purchasing agent for the motorpool, who has long experience with cars and maintenance and such, being given a whopping great big check and told to go buy some cars for state employees to run around in. He looks at the check, divides by the number of cars needed, and goes "yipee -- we're going to junket around in BMWs and Lexuses! Screw the Corolla."

Re:Salespeople as nannies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43061513)

Exactly, major case of Other Peoples Money. Why not get the best "just in case" , I am guessing in classic budgeting this was a use it or lose it line item so it gets used.

Worth more than any car? (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43059461)

A router?! A computer that is dedicated to the purpose of moving data along a network path and/or deciding which network paths based on some rules and protocols.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems to me one of the industry's biggest shams is the gross overvaluation of Cisco networking. Is it really so much better than all the others or are they cloaked in so much brand naming and the hallowed process by which people become "certified" that people forget what the actual purpose of Cisco's stuff is?

Re:Worth more than any car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059497)

It's a free market.

Re:Worth more than any car? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059617)

Yeah, a free market where the money being spent was taken from other people at gunpoint.

Troll? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059909)

Really?

Try not paying your taxes, and see what happens.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43059659)

A free market doesn't preclude stupid people or irrational brand loyalty.

Re:Worth more than any car? (3, Informative)

chrylis (262281) | about a year ago | (#43059517)

Both, depending largely on the particular devices in question. In recent years, general-purpose CPUs have gotten so fast and buses so efficient that a quad-core Xeon running a Linux-based routing system (such as Vyatta) can allegedly handle 10G line speed for a few ports, and PCI cards are widely available for DSx and other interfaces that used to require standalone routers. That said, you can't do line-speed 10G to 720 ports without serious custom hardware, and while Cisco's stuff is still overpriced for the capability compared to HP or Juniper, it's not the sort of outrageous ripoff that the ISR series is.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059921)

A comment I make is there is consumer grade stuff and industrial grade stuff which costs a lot more. When consumer grade stuff like the one I have down in the basement craps out, I have to go down and on and off it to get it working again. And if it dies then I have to live without pr0n for a day. In industrial and business settings, that's not often acceptable.

I'm almost willing bet bet that the state employees tasked with purchasing and rolling this stuff out were lacking in experience, staff, and money. And sales guys are paid via commission. And the money probably came with a deadline to spend it. Not the sort of thing that results in cost effective solutions.

Re:Worth more than any car? (2, Funny)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year ago | (#43060859)

And if it dies then I have to live without pr0n for a day. In industrial and business settings, that's not often acceptable.

I want to work where you work.....

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#43060161)

The lowend cisco devices are just general purpose processors, and usually not even very highend ones at that. Their firewalls are the same too, generic low spec x86 servers that will routinely have a fraction of the processing power of the servers sat behind them.
It's only the highend that's worth having, and really highend routers are quite a niche market.

Re:Worth more than any car? (2)

chrylis (262281) | about a year ago | (#43060243)

Skipping the former-Linksys-style low-low end, the ISRs have an unusual hybrid processing strategy; most routing in even a 2900 is done in custom hardware rather than on the processor (which is, IIRC, a PowerPC 700-series), which couldn't handle the throughput that the ISRs can. This does have the advantage of lower power consumption/heat and thus greater reliability, but if someone starts producing a generic TCAM-based forwarding plane that can be programmed via OpenFlow [wikipedia.org] , Cisco's low-end lunch is eaten.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059535)

In a sense, they're the networking industry's redmond. If you're not getting 40% off from list you're not doing very well. And, of course, they sell industry certification that does much what redmond's certification does: Generate an army of vendor lovers that have been taught the answers that generate them the most money are the right ones.

In another sense, where we accept random daily failure from desktop computers, laptops, mobiles, tablets, even home routers, the sky falls if enterprise-y networking kit behaves like that. Plus there's the management thing, and the ability to replace the kit with the exact same thing for a decade. This means they sell massively overpriced and outdated new kit ten years down the road because sometimes that's exactly what you need.

I'd mention their technical support but that's extra, to similar pricing tunes, so it doesn't count.

Anyhow, it's not straight-up overpriced. Not entirely. But they did massively overspecify and at their prices, that's a bit of a bundle.

Re:Worth more than any car? (2, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43059665)

In a sense, they're the networking industry's redmond. If you're not getting 40% off from list you're not doing very well. And, of course, they sell industry certification that does much what redmond's certification does: Generate an army of vendor lovers that have been taught the answers that generate them the most money are the right ones.

The difference is that the "Cisco"CNA/CCDA/CCNP/CCDP/CCSP/CCIE certifications aren't "cisco" only. I'm a BCNE. The Brocade test could be passed by anyone who could score a 90%+ on CCNA. There was a "Cisco to Brocade" test I took. There wasn't a single question on the test that was Brocade specific. Cisco pushes EIGRP every chance. Brocade has FSPF for an STP replacement/enhancement, but I didn't have a single question on it. The command line is identical, aside from some things you can pick up from contextual help.

The result is that a Cisco certified something can run a Juniper, Brocade, Alcatel, Huawei, etc. A Microsoft Certified anything can't do much on Windows, let alone anything else.

Sure, it's easier when you've spend years messing with Cisco's proprietary WRED and EIGRP, and maybe still consider ISL as a trunk type, even though even Cisco has officially depreciated it, to just select Cisco so you don't have to mess with anything new.

Re:Worth more than any car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059677)

My favorite part of being a Cisco administrator is the ASS/FUCK you have to get just for a firmware update.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43059713)

what, tftp a second image to flash, select the boot, and reboot is too hard for you? Or are you talking about logging into CCO? CCO has screwed me many times. I've had 3 IDs, all deactivated because I'd move from a company where I was a user, to a reseller, then back to a user.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#43060011)

what, tftp a second image to flash, select the boot, and reboot is too hard for you? Or are you talking about logging into CCO? CCO has screwed me many times. I've had 3 IDs, all deactivated because I'd move from a company where I was a user, to a reseller, then back to a user.

Maybe he's talking about money?

Re:Worth more than any car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060285)

I'd say CCO and SmartNet.

CCO changes from End-User, general technician with standard SFA access, to reseller, to Premium Partner, to CCIE.
Admittedly, licensing allows me to load only the same IOS files whether I'm end user or CCIE, but the 9-month access clean-up has bit me on the arse before.

Cisco would do well to allow SN registration (which they do already) that would allow point-release downloads after the 90-day install period. There's so many bugs in CME 8.0 to 8.6, and 8.6.1 has sorted most of them out. And Cisco know full well that 8.1 was a POS. (Not as bad as 9.0 :P) but there's a bunch of UC500's running shit software because the customer didn't buy SmartNet and the UC5xx went to Small Business Support shortly after (urgh!)

anonymous since my nick and CCO ID are very similar :P

Re:Worth more than any car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060627)

It's exactly like the now depreciated saying "no one ever gets fired for buying IBM"

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

kestasjk (933987) | about a year ago | (#43059563)

Some routers are worth $20k, but obviously a school will never need one of these.. The question is why they were sold to schools; was it fraud by Cisco? was it a badly designed procurement process? was it corruption?

Re:Worth more than any car? (2, Insightful)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year ago | (#43059681)

Cisco claims they were instructed to provide a quote for routing devices with features like, "redundant power supplies", and just provided a list of the devices that qualified. The state denies these requirments.

Put simply, they put together a sheet with 1,164 of the same exact device. One for every location, and wrote off the gross oversizing to future-proofing. That meant a big municipal facility would get one of these $20k machines, which was probably unnecessary, but the one room shack they call a "library" in rural virginia also got one... in case they ever did a high speed haul out there .

It's absoutely nuts. And the worst part is that someone signed off on this, even after Cisco had the balls to propose it.

Re:Worth more than any car? (2)

Robert Goatse (984232) | about a year ago | (#43059721)

I don't think Cisco is at fault here. They're not a charity. I blame the poor sap that signed off on the PR. Of course Cisco is going to try and patch this up as it's generating bad publicity for not doing anything wrong.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43059827)

They are at fault. If an honest person was doing the deal they would let the customer know they didn't need such gold plated kit if only to avoid such a backlash and to ensure repeat business.

Re:Worth more than any car? (4, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year ago | (#43060683)

You apparently have never dealt with government RFP's, you have to meet the specs and have no input on them or visibility as to what they are for. They specked a single device that could run voip with PSTN fallback, wan acceleration (WAAS is cisco's version of that same), and an embedded managed switch with POE. The device they came back with is the only one that fits all those requirements. The issue squarely lies with the people that wrote the RFP.

Re:Worth more than any car? (2)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#43059897)

The problem is that the many of those sites were getting fiber out there. The state wanted a single device that could handle both the legacy T1's and the new fiber connections. Cisco really ought to have told them to go with whatever their cheapest T1 model is these days and then replace the router when the fiber is actually installed. Cisco is certainly to blame for not doing anything to help out.

However, the state is certainly to blame for not letting someone with a little bit of experience take a look at the bid.

Re:Worth more than any car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060637)

Actually, something like US$2bn was spent on places exactly like WEST Virginia to dump fibre or high-capacity microwave links to these "one room shacks."

For the Record, I'm not from WEST Virginia. Only drove through once on my way back to CT.

Re: Worth more than any car? (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | about a year ago | (#43059775)

Absolutely. Cisco products are premium, and while it might look like less expensive products can do the job, you'll regret not having a top tier product in the end! Spent the extra thousand now and save time and headache later.

- Monster Marketing Team

Re:Worth more than any car? (3, Insightful)

sheehaje (240093) | about a year ago | (#43059853)

Looking at Cisco from a hardware perspective, yes they are overvalued and there are less expensive, comparable options out there.

However, I will say a few things in Cisco's defense - I've worked with Cisco, Dell PowerConnect, ProCurve, Avaya and Nortel -- hands down, when I do run into problems, Cisco is the easiest to troubleshoot for. Mainly finding documentation/community help is much easier. Finding technicians that actually know what they are doing is easier.

The other thing I would like to say is that Cisco is not always as expensive as people want to portray them. A lot of time, things like West Virginia happen - the options aren't investigated properly, and you end up with a 20K router... A great example is before I got to my job, they were buying all 3550 switches for the wiring closets.. We didn't need a layer 3 switch in a closet, so we started ordering 2560 (the next gen model in that series) and significantly cut costs.

Another example of ours, we had implemented Cisco Wireless in one of our locations, but for another location were sold an Avaya on the promise that it performed just as well and would be cheaper. The later proved true - but by a small margin. Performance and support has been an issue since day 1. Trying to find engineers inside Avaya that know their own devices like a comparable Cisco engineer is few and far between.

The last thing people don't realize - you don't always need a smartnet.. We don't order them for all our wiring closet switches anymore - we just keep our latest round of switches on SmartNet. Cisco Catalyst does have a LIFETIME warranty on the hardware... The same thing that HP Procurve tries to sell customers hard... Core switches, we absolutely keep on 24/7 4 hour Smartnet ... Wiring closets, and branch routers... nah... we can just keep a spare or two, they are cheap enough. Replace when needed, send back for lifetime warranty...

With this said, I'm not always rosy on Cisco. We did a VoIP project about 3 years ago, and going with another vendor (Mitel in our case) gave us significant savings. I'm just saying that they get the overvalued label a lot, and yes, if you are just looking from a hardware perspective yes. If you are looking at the whole training, support, community and logistics angle - Cisco definitely has the leg up on any other networking company.

Re:Worth more than any car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059943)

Cisco is the easiest to troubleshoot for.

Given how vapid their reference manuals are... that's amazing. Then again, I have a Unix (BSD) background.

The last thing people don't realize - you don't always need a smartnet

Remember that we're not talking about an enterprise here; these are state employees, used to communistically take whatever crap is handed down from on high and not looking to help unless something forces them to. Alright, this is maybe a bit hyperbolic, but you know... they probably have zilch IT support internally and are looking to get the full-service problem-handed-to-someone-else treatment.

They probably shouldn't have tried dealing with kit vendors themselves. Instead, hire an IT services company to distill the requirements and do the haggling with the vendors. Even with the added overhead that'll be cheaper than getting reamed by cisco without anestetic.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#43059877)

There are perfectly good Cisco routers available which can handle the West Virginia requirements, you just need two routers instead of one. The combined cost is much much lower than the cost of a 3945.

If West Virginia had gone with Juniper the story would have been exactly the same -- except with Juniper the choice would have been between a J-series which is close to EOL and at least as expensive as a 3945, or an MX series which would have been even more expensive.

Re:Worth more than any car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060639)

It's cool that you've joined the IT community recently.

There are indeed routers in the 7 figure Bugatti Veyron territory. Your friendly Cisco and Juniper reps can hook you up.

Re:Worth more than any car? (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | about a year ago | (#43060713)

I'm guessing a considerable chunk of that 20k $ will have been for deployment, configuration and subsequent support. IANANE (Not A Network Engineer) but in typical situations in software engineering, the hardware costs are pretty low compared to the wages for the programmers, architects and maintenance crew.

the right thing (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#43059477)

For whatever the reasons Cisco makes this offer, it's the right thing to do. Just as sucking the Federal teat (hey, it's just bidness, everybody does it) was the wrong thing to do. To really make things right, they'd also offer to find the state suitable routers, at cost, and set'em up as well.

If I was the state, I'd be taking a close look at conscientious civil servant who approved the original deal. "Misappropriation of public monies" has a nice ring to it on a résumé.

Re:the right thing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059507)

The plural of money is money.

Re:the right thing (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43059671)

Not in formal English. The plural 'moneys' is commonly used in finance and law to indicate differing types of money (bills, electronic transfer, etc, or differing currency such as USD, pounds, and yen), money from multiple sources, or in different instances.

It's best to check before correcting someone in public.

Re:the right thing (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#43060019)

It's best to check before correcting someone in public.

Why? In case 'anonymous coward' does harm to his reputation?

Re:the right thing (0)

cerberusss (660701) | about a year ago | (#43059627)

To really make things right, they should stop bribing officials. Because that's what happened here, or so I have the feeling.

Re:the right thing (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#43059631)

. To really make things right, they'd also offer to find the state suitable routers, at cost, and set'em up as well.

Cisco's not a charity -- the management who approved the mistaken design, and the firm that designed and selected inappropriate router choices, should have to deal with this.

It's not Cisco's job to stop you from buying equipment that can do more than what you need it to do right now.

Re:the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060981)

Yes it is. As a trusted vendor and supplier it is your duty to ensure the client is purchasing what they need, not what they want. unless, of course you have explained that what they want is not what they need and they insist on buyingit anyways, but that is not what happened here.

Cisco is slimy and that's why I will never use them.

Preposterous !! (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43059823)

Cisco was caught red handed !

Before the auditor report came out, did Cisco volunteer to do whatever it wants to do now?

If Cisco did, I'll applaud Cisco for doing the right thing

If Cisco didn't do nothing, and pretended that nothing wrong had ever been done in this $20K per router for library deal, before the auditor report became public, hey, Cisco wasn't such a nice guy afterall !!

Re:Preposterous !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060661)

Red handed in what? Its not Cisco's responsibility to ensure your not overbuying.

The person who signed off in buying this is at fault, which I'm guessing by the way your trying to flog Cisco is probably you.

That's the Market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059539)

Reminds me of when I was trying to find 10GbE switches for a small SAN I wanted to design.... but, those are the prices. People complain less when you overbuild compared to when you underbuild, that's what drives this.

Re:That's the Market. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43059701)

The 3945 is the top of the line ISR, but still won't do 1 Gbps of traffic. An ASR 901 will do as much for lower cost (At the cost of a few L3/L4 features), but a 1 Gb switch will do 90% of what the ISR will do for much less cost. The only thing I can think of for the ISR is that the new Cisco Scansafe solution requires an ISR G2 (of certain specific models) to provide it's filtered Internet solution. They like to sell that to schools and libraries. And yes, it is resource intensive, but not so bad that you'd need something that big for small libraries or schools.

Verizon sold the routers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059583)

It seems not very many people remember it was Verizon that sold WV the routers, not Cisco. Either way though, this really falls on the shoulders of the idiot who repurposed the broadband expansion funds for buying large quantities of overpowered routers because ridiculously unnecessary mandates. Frankly, I'm surprised Cisco is doing this, but it's good to see at least in one instance corporate greed didn't triumph over common sense (Verizon notwithstanding).

Re:Verizon sold the routers... (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#43059697)

It seems that Cisco, WV, and the press (all of it) are amongst those who don't remember that.

Are you having a stroke?

The key is who you sell to (5, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#43059587)

A good salesman will get all the tech people convinced that they need his cool stuff that will work well for a good price. A great salesman goes right to the top and convinces the top(non technical) people (with white papers like this week's pole) A truly great salesman will even eliminate the tech people and replace them with his own so that the new tech people will not only support every suggestion but will become a sales force in their own right.

I am willing to bet that no serious tech person had anything to do with this and if they did that they are Cisco certified up the ying yang. Just a guess but that the decision to purchase these came from very near the very top and the person was totally chuffed to be running a multi-million dollar project and was convinced that their tech wienies would be way out of their "depth" on this one.

Assuming some tech guy did protest they were probably told that their suggested routers were mere toys and that to play with the big boys that you needed serious hardware.

One of the greatly overlooked solutions is that your networking demands are so small that quite old solutions can be very effective. As long as the system can be remotely administrated you would be hard pressed to buy old hardware that didn't meet the rest of the system's requirements. 100,000 users you need the big guns. 100 users you probably need one step up from a home router.

Re:The key is who you sell to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43060517)

There is something wrong if "great" and "truly great" are the adjectives we use to describe such people.

Ah, but this is the "business world" (somehow a separate world/reality from that of our own) so not only is such dishonesty forgiven but it is also actively applauded. In fact, it's not dishonesty at all--it's the victim's fault that they were too stupid to be swindled. Yeah, it's a free country--I'm constrained only by the law! Not convinced? Oh, well the responsibilities outlined in my job description supercede social contracts that I would otherwise be held responsible for. Besides, I'm just a cog in a machine--I'm not responsible for my input to the collective actions of the (limited liability) entity of which I am an essential part of! You say that at the most fundamental level culpability for the effects of one's actions cannot be exempted if one is conscious of them? How dare you, I need to put food on my family's table with my six figure income! That's ridiculous? I know, but if I don't do it then somebody else will in my place, so what's the difference! You say this sort of idea can be used to justify all profitable misdeeds and results in a general sifting of the most immoral to the top--and I'm still guilty of a lack of empathy and shame by knowingly reaping benefits from the misfortune of others? But ... but this is a free market! Despite the overwhelming evidence against it, I hereby assume with dogmatic certainty that perfect free markets or something even remotely close to them exist, and thus any act of self interest is actually for the collective's good! Also, why stop there? Any actor which fails in this game or is not motivated to fully participate in something so morbid is to be excluded from the aforementioned "collective," and thus we can rationalize their failure as a natural culling of the unselected or lazy! In fact .. why wait for the the market to select out these individuals? They're an eyesore. Perhaps it would instead be more efficient to invent a screening process, round them up and then subject them to mandatory labor at a level that is competitive with robots--at least they'll be doing *something* useful, right?!

Wait a minute ... why should *I* be paying for these labor camps with *my* tax dollars? ... We should really do something about these peopl-

Alright, rant over

Re:The key is who you sell to (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43061147)

> One of the greatly overlooked solutions is that your networking demands are so small that quite old solutions can be very effective

Until they're not. I spend a lot of time cleaning up from "one-off" solutions where someone who did *not* understand the consequences did a cheap hack with old equipment. These have ranged from solid core nework wiring that was guaranteed to break as it kept getting moved around, to dumb switches that were put in places where idiots would inevitably run two connections directly between the same par of switches and set up loops, and the old switches didn't support using spanning tree protocols to deal with this. And do not get me *started* on trying to map a network that has dumb switches in it with no accessible configuraitons or SNMP available so you can find out which switch a device is connected to, especially when some schmuck brings a virus infected machine into a work environment and I have to *find* the !@#$ thing.

Modest components have their uses, but you hae to check the specs before going to Bob's Rummage Sale and bringing home a rack full of vintage business discards and plugging them into your network.

Cisco looking for federal stimulus money (2, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43059769)

Cisco, and others, were specifically looking for government pork: http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/40380 [networkworld.com]

Cisco is looking for about $1 billion in federal bailout money, according to a report in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer. The company expects the U.S. government to fork over $47 billion to high-tech.

Bruce Klein, a Cisco senior vice president, is charged with making sure Cisco gets that share of the money. Cisco can't receive it directly, but only through projects tied to local and state governments that are financed by the stimulus funds, the N&O reports.

So Klein put together teams across Cisco to identify business opportunities with local and state government agencies and other public sector organizations.

Cisco is not alone in looking to capitalize on the influx federal stimulus funds. General Electric and IBM are also lining up stimulus-backed government contracts, the N&O reports.

But should companies shipping jobs to offshore facilities and contractors be eligible to bid on contracts financed by federal stimulus funds?

Re:Cisco looking for federal stimulus money (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#43059839)

But this is also a company that is holding off transferring money from overseas back to the US to avoid paying taxes on it.

Re:Cisco looking for federal stimulus money (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43060069)

So, in other words, they were doing precisely what the stimulus intended. Those EEEEVIL corporashuns!

The abusive husband is always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43059937)

"Hey guys, I'm really sorry I got caught beating my wife"

They only have hammers. (0)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#43060123)

I needed to connect some PCs to network hardware, but it was not possible to just lay the cables because there was an emergency exit and passage. Cables were not an option.
So all I wanted was to use the available wall ports.
Cisco came up with a 3500EUR solution. For that there was no budget, so the hardware was standing there idle.

I just bought two hubs for the price of less then 100EUR. Hardware to hub on both sides, Hub to wallport on both sides. Patching by our IT guys (which took about 5 minutes, including the coffee break) so wallport 1 connects to wallport 2 directly as if it was a cable going from one side of the hallway to the other and we were done.

If Cisco would have offered a much cheaper solution for say 400EUR, I am sure the company would have bought it.

Seems a bit of 'If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.'

are they forgetting something here? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year ago | (#43060583)

Installation and labor?

Did that not get built in to the bid?

Re:are they forgetting something here? (2)

6ULDV8 (226100) | about a year ago | (#43061303)

Installation and labor might be covered in the monthly recurring cost of connectivity that Verizon is supplying.

That's a lot of money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43061145)

If only there were things in gov't budgets we could cut besides parks, police, air traffic controllers and food inspectors.
P.s., I hate children.

Take back at full price? or a low used price that (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43061153)

Take back at full price? or a low used price that you can get more for them on e-bay.

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