How has it helped my organization?
Cisco is our backbone. This includes switches, main office, links - all Cisco. For the one between branches, we have Riverbed to speed it up. For internet analytics, we have Palo Alto, Fortinet Security. For application delivery, Citrix. Database, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle. We also have business tools and developer bots with Oracle. That is a lot of products!
What is most valuable?
We keep Cisco for normal switches for corrective flows and the data center. But they are not so good with the firewall so we use Palo Alto and FortiGate.
In terms of the most valuable feature, I would say the user interface. We also have Citrix XenApp for the remote service. And Exchange and other Microsoft solutions.
We have other software for software control, for users and help desk. For security, we have RSA Netwitness and Netwitness Security Analytics,
What needs improvement?
We are only using Cisco for switches and for the IP telephony call center.
It needs to be manageable, easy, and fast with Windows and other GUIs. They must improve their interface and stability.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches since 1997.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Yes, it is stable. That's why we've stuck with it. It's very stable.
The IT department is more than 55 people. But the server team has three teams of four people. The security team, four people. Database team, five people. We have one supervisor, the head of the team, and two or three under him for his team. I am the head of the security team and the infrastructure team, for servers, switches, and security. So I can tell you that it takes five to seven people to handle Cisco and the security.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
In terms of scalability, it is scalable. With Cisco we have built-in stacks and stackable switches. And it has a stackable fiber from the main office to the Catalyst and the Nexus switch.
How are customer service and technical support?
The problem with customer support is that they give you beginners. We need the experts after the first, second, or third call. Only after a week do you get the expert after you explain and complain about it.
What about the implementation team?
We are the Qatar government authority. So with Cisco, we are dealing with all types of gateways. Cisco is in Kuwait. Many times when we are building something with Cisco we design the infrastructure, everything. Then we go to the Cisco dealers. Because this is our strategy, we work with Cisco directly. With the firewall, I work with Palo Alto or FortiGate or any other brand. Who will give good support, good installation? The solution for installation will be provided and approved by the center itself. That is our strategy. We are happy with this. Before we develop a solution, we sit down directly with the vendor.
Our IP telephony is all Cisco. I would consider another data component.
What other advice do I have?
Cisco is very good and stable. But the problem is that it is costly. It's a very good service but it would be costly for small companies. They should go for lower-end, cheaper switches. Because we are the government, we are stuck with Cisco. But the small and medium-sized businesses must go lower, such as with Huawei or another brand.
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Cisco Ethernet Switches a nine.
The main problem is the support in the Middle East. This is a problem for all products, not just Cisco. When you contact support, they don't give you the expert at first, they give you the beginner. Only after going around in a circle do they give you experts. Why don't they just give the expert from the beginning?