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Nawaf AlTamimi
Network & System Security Consultant at Zakat House
Real User
User friendly solution with good stability

Pros and Cons

  • "In terms of most valuable feature, I would say the user interface."
  • "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?"

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?

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Joel Masocha
IT Manager at a construction company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Stable infrastructure components that scale with our needs

Pros and Cons

  • "As I am Cisco certified, I like the way that I can program them."
  • "Better manageability and ease of use would be an improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We use Cisco Ethernet Switches as part of our network infrastructure at two different sites.

How has it helped my organization?

Cisco switches has helped provide efficient and stable switching in the organization. Once configured and setup right they work fine without any worries and has helped free up resources to concentrate on other tasks. 

What is most valuable?

I love the fact that they can be configured to do exactly what you need them to do, which in my opinion is what anyone with Cisco experience would enjoy doing. They can be set up and configured nicely.

What needs improvement?

Ease of configuration for none cisco experts would be an improvement.

Pricing can also do with some improvement to make it more competitive with competitor products with similar functionality.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using cisco switches for over ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Cisco switches are scalable. I manage two large sites and at the first site, we have about 200 people. The second site has about 300 people. We do not have any plan to expand, per se. I do have plans to upgrade the switches and probably redesign the environment for better efficiency. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco has a good technical support and I love they way the come in to help when you are doing a research on their site. I have not had any serious need for cisco technical support and so I would not be in the best position to give a conclusive evaluation of this but I must say they do a good job with their certifications so people would need very little of such services.  For a few minor challenges I was also able to get answers from the cisco forums. There is a pretty good database online for any conceivable problems one would face with the cisco switches.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a different solution prior to this, although we are going to be buying a few Meraki switches that we will add to our environment. We are going to test them to see how well they work with Cisco.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set was complex. When I came into the project, the features were just put in with no consideration, whatsoever. This meant that I had to start from scratch to design the network, draw up the configurations and setup vlans to easily manage the network.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented in-house.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price of the product is on the higher side, I feel you pay for the  name of the product as well but it's still manageable for corporate customers. Licensing is simple and straight forward which is something going well for cisco switches.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is that if you are going to be implementing Cisco then you should at least have someone in the organization who is knowledgeable and can manage the features. The alternative is to use Meraki because they are easier to manage.

We have some pretty old switches in our environment and some of them are only 100 megabits. I would like to upgrade them all to at least one-gigabit.

Some of our uplinks are on ethernet, but I want to upgrade them to fiber to improve the performance.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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SC
Head Of Information & Communication Technology at a transportation company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good performance and redundancy, and well worth the investment

Pros and Cons

  • "These switches help to build the best network, the way we want it."
  • "Putting in a more complete management infrastructure would help when it comes to handling lower-end switches."

What is our primary use case?

We use these switches in our data center core to handle all of the converged networks. They handle our SAN servers as well as other components.

The outer perimeter is handled by the Cisco 2960s, for distribution of traffic to endpoint clients.

How has it helped my organization?

These switches help to build the best network, the way we want it. There is a guarantee that makes us feel better about having a secure network.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the performance and ability to handle the flow of traffic.

The redundancy that the switches provide is very good.

What needs improvement?

There is a focus on improving the UI for managing the higher-end switches and routers, but not the traditional ones. Putting in a more complete management infrastructure would help when it comes to handling lower-end switches.

These switches are pretty expensive to put into place, so if they could bring the price point down then it would be really good.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Cisco Ethernet switches for just over ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution very well handles the capability for scaling. It is fairly simple and easy to do.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Sometimes we have issues with certain switches hanging.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have only indirectly been in contact with technical support through our vendor. Our interactions mostly had to do with registering the product and downloading updates. We have not been in contact concerning a particular issue about a product.

How was the initial setup?

Our initial setup was more than ten years ago, and it is something that has been modified over time. Whatever it was, originally, has been rebuilt. As we continue to add new components, it becomes simpler and easier for us to go forward. 

The deployment for the data center core took four days to get all of the services up and running. This included the interfacing, as well as cutting over to ensure that there was no outage. A lot of this had to do with the waiting time and change control, where the cut-over was done during hours that are less used by the employees.

Our other primary switches were pretty simple to change, as and when required. This was never much of a dealy.

What about the implementation team?

Our vendor assisted us with the original deployment. Our project team consisted of four people and there was an additional person from the vendor.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

These switches are expensive, but they are an excellent buy and definitely have value for the investment.

What other advice do I have?

The switches that we have purchased handle our load pretty well. We do not have a high data plan network.

When our switches age beyond the life cycle then each will be replaced with whatever the current model is in the market at the time. In the future, we would like to integrate Cisco Aironet, although Wi-Fi is a bit down the line for us.

Overall, this is a good product but there is always room for improvement. My main complaint about Cisco is the price aspect.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AB
Security Administrator at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A stable and robust solution for switching routing

Pros and Cons

  • "When it comes to switching routing, we have no doubts about Cisco."
  • "I would like for the solution to have more more security features and be more user-friendly."

What is our primary use case?

We don't work with the latest version, which is why I am currently conducting research. We wish to see if we can move from the existing solution to an upgrade. We have been using 2960 switches for a very long time, say... five, six or seven years, and they have reached the end of their lives, which is why I proposed a change. 

What is most valuable?

When it comes to switching routing, we have no doubts about Cisco. It's a robust solution. One cannot find latency, such as attenuations, even within our cables. It's really stable. In contrast, some other switches can switch over, but we found Cisco Ethernet Switches to be stable and robust, even taking into account Africa's infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

I would like for the solution to have more security features and be more user-friendly. It should have a GUI graphical user interface which would allow the person to interact with it. The look and feel should be addressed. As people are in the process of moving away from CLI, it should be something that anybody can manage.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches for more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

the solution is really stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We may switch to another solution, although this will depend on the cost. The dollar has multiplied five times over the past ten years, which means that certain things are not affordable in dollars at the moment. I am not saying that the best product would be be cost prohibitive for us. This said, one's budget and the cost of materials must be weighed. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Cisco is consistently at the top of its game when it comes to quickly routing our security. Other solutions with which I have experience are less so, such as concern identity service engines. The problem with this is the support. Switches are appliances that, once put in place, hardly require support. However, this is needed for firewalls, routers and other security appliances, but is hard to come by in Nigeria

I'm not saying that I am dissatisfied with Cisco's technical support, but I am looking at what is involved in reaching it and having the app escalated to the second party. 

Generally speaking, it is not possible to reach second-line support. One would usually reach the original equipment manufacturer at first-line support. Generally speaking, they would prefer not to escalate an issue. Take, for example, the Cisco security appliance we currently have deployed. It must be unplugged and we are not benefiting from the support that we need. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution can be comparatively cheaper. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am currently in the process of comparing the solution with that of Huwei switches, which I know can be cheaper, taking into account the exchange rate with Yuan and the dollar increase in Nigeria. 

Although I am not looking for a cheaper solution, I am doing so for one that is affordable. 

What other advice do I have?

There are between 2,000 and 2,500 people making use of the solution in our company.

I rate Cisco Ethernet Switches as a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Paul Ojil
Director at Blue Neuron Limited
Real User
The greatest advantage is reliability.

Pros and Cons

  • "The greatest advantage of Cisco switches is their reliability. For example, we bought some 500 series switches back in 2002 or 2003, and they ran 24/7. I never had an issue for seven years."
  • "You have to be Cisco-certified to work on Cisco products, so we can't get into Cisco to do even basic configurations."

What is most valuable?

Product counterfeiting is a big problem in the Kenyan market. Many people trust Cisco because you won't find a fake Cisco product, at least not in this use case.

What needs improvement?

You have to be Cisco-certified to work on Cisco products, so we can't get into Cisco to do even basic configurations. I may be speaking from ignorance, but in my experience, Cisco products lack a GUI. You can barely get around the basic system, so the interface is something I would improve. The overview and configuration are good for security purposes, but it's bad if you want your products to be the product of choice of the average user. Cisco should do work on making its switches less cryptic.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Cisco Ethernet Switches since 2000. We recommend Linksys for customers who can't afford Cisco, but Cisco has always been our dominant product. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The greatest advantage of Cisco switches is their reliability. For example, we bought some 500 series switches back in 2002 or 2003, and they ran 24/7. I never had an issue for seven years. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think Cisco Ethernet Switches are quite scalable, with lots of options. It's not an issue at all for anyone to expand. 

How are customer service and support?

You can get professional support in this market. We have quite a lot of guys working with Cisco in Kenya, so it's not too hard to get a Cisco specialist to configure your network for you. It's not hard to get a Cisco-certified professional in the market. They might not be cheap, but they're there. 

How was the initial setup?

Setting up a Cisco switch isn't hard. You take it out of the box, switch it on, mount it, and connect it. Then it's up and running. It's more complicated to do port configurations, customization, or anything fancy. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cisco is quite expensive. In our market, a lot of customers are forced to go with something else because they cannot afford a brand-new Cisco even though they know a Cisco switch will be more reliable. They'll for a Linksys switches because that is what they can afford. It's mainly an issue for medium-sized businesses. Pricing is negotiable and if you are a large enterprise, you're less worried about the price.

What other advice do I have?

I rate Cisco Ethernet switches eight out of 10. I would give them a higher rating, but they need to be more sensible on their pricing. They may want to maintain that high price because their products are higher quality. At the same time, other vendors are coming in and filling this space at the bottom of the pyramid. They might end up being a niche market product for people who know or prefer Cisco. I don't think this was their original strategy. I'm sure their original plan was to corner the market on switches for anyone who needs one. The advice I would give to potential Cisco customers is to make sure you know exactly what you want, so you get value for the money. Think about the scalability of your business and your requirements. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Lusanda  Matyunjwa
Enterprise and Security Manager at University of Fort Hare
Real User
Top 20
Impressive after-sales support, stable, and scales well as our needs evolve

Pros and Cons

  • "I like their after-sales support more than anything because it's very good."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our datacenter is built using Cisco switches. We use Cisco products for wireless access, routing, and switching.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Cisco switches have helped our organization through good connectivity speeds and stability. In particular, it has improved our wireless capabilities.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is the after-sales support. I like their after-sales support more than anything because it's very good.

    The sales experience was good because we deal with Cisco directly and then buy through the partners. It means that we developed a close relationship with Cisco in the process.

    Cisco has been adding things on top of their devices, like DNA, which makes managing them very easy.

    What needs improvement?

    For people who are new, the interface can be confusing. For me, however, I don't think that there's anything that can be simplified because I'm used to the command line and the old way of working with Cisco switches. I find them simple.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using Cisco Ethernet Switches for between 15 and 16 years, since 2004.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This is a very stable product that we have barely had issues with.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    This is a very scalable solution. When we started, we didn't have enough switches and other equipment. One of the beauties is that when we add new technologies or buy new switches, it scales.

    We are in a university setting and there are new students every year, so we always have to connect more people to our network. It is definitely scalable and we plan to increase our usage in the future.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The technical support is very good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have worked with products from Juniper, HP, and many other vendors that have switching products. Cisco is the best, not necessarily the team, but the after-sale support.

    In some places I have been, they were using other brands. Based on their experience after I introduced them to Cisco, they stuck with it because of the support.

    How was the initial setup?

    I completed the Cisco training in 2008 and from there, the initial setup was simple.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Cisco products are not cheap, which is something that can be improved.

    What other advice do I have?

    There used to be a problem with programmability, but with the release of the new switches, I don't think that there's anything that needs to be added.

    I would recommend them any day.

    My advice for anybody who is considering this type of product is that when you buy a Cisco device, you don't just buy the device but the whole organization. Cisco will get people to assist you when you've got an issue, and they will make sure that you get that support. They have the best after-sales support that I have ever worked with.

    I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Rafael Riera
    Pre-sales Engineer at a wholesaler/distributor with 51-200 employees
    Reseller
    Top 5
    Excellent technical support, good features, and easy to set up

    Pros and Cons

    • "Technical support is excellent. They are very helpful."
    • "I don't like that you have to have a license of 10 years to use the switch. I don't understand that policy."

    What is most valuable?

    Cisco is number one in switches. Normally, if a manufacturer does not have the same categories as Cisco, it's not a good switch. Cisco has a lot of features that you never use that are implemented in the software. It's nice to know they are there if you need them. 

    For a simple customer, the initial setup is quick and easy.

    Technical support is excellent. They are very helpful.

    What needs improvement?

    Typically, mid-range customers don't have a need for all of the features embedded in Cisco's software.

    The solution is a bit difficult.

    I don't like the new way the licensing is set up. I don't like that you have to have a license of 10 years to use the switch. I don't understand that policy. It's not useful for the customer.

    There are some features in previous versions or previous models that were automatically included in the software. However, now, in the new switches, they don't have it included. You have to go to an advanced version.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been dealing with the solution for the last two decades. It's been 20 years. I have a lot of experience with them.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The performance of the solution is very good. We've found the solution to be reliable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    While I haven't been in touch with Cisco's technical support in the past year, I have worked with them in the past and I have always had a positive experience. I would rate their services nine out of ten. They are knowledgeable and responsive. We are satisfied with eh support they provide. They are likely the best on the market in terms of support.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It's not difficult or anything. 

    There are lots of ways to do the initial configuration. It's very flexible. I typically use the traditional setup, however, you don't necessarily need to.

    Deployment times vary. It depends on the client and the environment and what you want to do.

    For someone who knows what they are doing, it might take an hour or so to have a suite deployed. Others might need more time or might have to do more integrations with a network that's in production. That could take a week or more. It all depends.

    That said, even with configuration and integration in the mix, it's not too difficult. A company shouldn't run into any problems.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    There are other manufacturers that may offer better pricing. The price is important. It may be a deciding factor for some.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are a Cisco partner. We are also a Cisco customer.

    I've dealt with a lot of Cisco switches and a lot of different versions over the years.

    I would recommend the solution to others. They are likely the first option if you compare it to other manufacturers. The features and performance are superior. It would be difficult to find something better than Cisco. 

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    RS
    Network Engineer at a educational organization with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Stable with good technical support and the capability to scale

    Pros and Cons

    • "Tech support has always been good."
    • "They can make the licensing model a little easier."

    What is our primary use case?

    Generally, we use the product just to switch traffic.

    How has it helped my organization?

    They just work. Their reliability has been great for our organization.

    What is most valuable?

    We just need them to run. There's not any feature that we sought out and we bought them. We bought them due to the fact that we needed switching capabilities and Cisco is pretty reliable.

    The solution can scale.

    Technical support is helpful and responsive.

    What needs improvement?

    They can make the licensing model a little easier. I know they've made some recent changes, it's a little confusing. It's more complicated than it once was.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Cisco switches for 20 years. It's been a very long time.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is quite stable. It's reliable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    They're doing the job fine. We have upgraded them when we needed to. We can scale as necessary.

    I can't speak to how many users are currently on our switches.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Tech support has always been good. They are helpful and responsive. I'm quite satisfied with their level of service.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We also use Aruba switches and Dell PowerConnect.

    How was the initial setup?

    The implementation process has a moderate level of difficulty. It's not straightforward or complex; it's somewhere in the middle. Sometimes they change the iOS around, and that lends itself to a bit of complexity. You have to work on updating items.

    There were a couple of versions early on where we buy a different model switch and the operating system was different, with different commands and stuff.

    We didn't really have a specific implementation strategy.

    Initially, some of the switches took about an hour to implement.

    I take care of the maintenance aspects of the product. You don't need a lot of people to do it.

    What about the implementation team?

    Occasionally, we've gotten outside help when we've needed it, however, most of the time I take care of that myself.

    When we have gotten outside help, the experience has always been positive.

    What was our ROI?

    I haven't specifically witnessed any ROI while using this solution.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The licensing model is difficult to understand.

    We get the SMARTnet and one of the switches has that Cisco ONE licensing. It's probably running about $12,000 a year right now. There aren't any add-on costs on top of that that I am aware of.

    What other advice do I have?

    We're just customers and end-users.

    We've had several versions over the years, mostly Catalyst switches.

    It's just a really solid product. I'd give the product a rating of eight out of ten as they are really good switches.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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