Cisco or Juniper, Which one should I choose?

Being in charge of choosing the right boxes for a service provider network is definitely a hard task specially if it is a large network migration and this is exactly what we were doing in the past few months. The challenge here is that your are faced with a lot of choices that will affect the future business of your company. You will need to see a little bit in the future and consider the traffic needs, the new features and technology trends in the few years to come.

When it comes to service provider networks the biggest competitors in the market are Cisco and Juniper. Each of them has great marketing claims about him self and about his competitor. However, I have to admit that the question "Which one to choose?" can not be easily answered in that simple direct way because you have too many things to consider to make that decision.

You are faced with your engineering technical considerations which we may discuss in coming posts. There is also business considerations and which is a big important part of the story. CAPEX, OPEX offers and discounts, Support contracts, presence, reliability of support, technical team training, migration from one vendor to another and its effect on the customers and services offered. Also don't forget business relationships and having multi-vendor environment vs not.

If you are involved in choosing boxes for your service provider network migration you are simply required to consider all your technical issues and many of these business issues.

I am sure that there are more experienced engineers who can write in this area a lot better than I am doing now. But from my experience both vendors have their own strengths and weakness as a I said before.

My advice to you is to be open minded and not to biased to any vendor, think like an engineer, verify every word they say about their boxes, search the internet for potential problems known about each device you are considering and face them with it, know the road-maps, ask experts you know and believe me both vendors will help you a lot in finding and verifying their competitor marketing claims.

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