What are the most important criteria you consider when making a big purchase? Price is probably in the mix – whether you're buying something for your home or evaluating different networking vendors for new IT infrastructure, there's often an impetus to look for a bargain.
This instinct may lead you to consider less prominent sellers and brands, or even to overhaul your company's operations, as many organizations have when pursuing software-defined networking (SDN). In the latter case, major savings are possible by replacing proprietary network equipment with off-the-shelf alternatives compatible with SDN controllers, which supply the real decision-making intelligence.
Making sense of cost considerations: How cheap can become very expensive
As the SDN example illustrates, price considerations are often intertwined with other concerns. A Stax survey of 40,000 consumers and corporate end users found that many respondents who reported being sensitive to price were also attuned to product quality and durability. Moreover, organizations also routinely factored in whether a purchase would:
- Disrupt existing workflows.
- Necessitate additional trainings.
- Need extensive technical support.
Overall, determining the true cost of something as complex as an IT network architecture requires looking beyond the price tag. Subpar quality takes a toll of its own, while superior reliability - even if it costs more upfront - can reduce expenses over the long term by minimizing downtime an extending the product life cycle. Choosing something based on price alone can backfire, especially if it supports mission-critical applications like VoIP and video conferencing for your business.
Why it pays not to skimp on IT network infrastructure
Undoubtedly, there are products and services that, if possible, really should be purchased for the lowest possible price. Generic prescription drugs come to mind, since they're the exact same formulations as brand names. However, IT network infrastructures don't fit this profile and require more nuanced evaluation.
According to ITIC, just one hour of downtime costs more than $300,000 for 81 percent of enterprises. Even short of an actual outage, unreliable networking equipment can hurt your business by taking too long to transport critical traffic between sites and degrading the end user experience of performance-sensitive applications.
To hedge against these risks, many SMBs and enterprises have invested in IT network infrastructure such as software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) and Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA). Let's take a look at how each of these solutions helps suppor a strong network.
An SD-WAN features a software layer that constantly tracks network quality metrics such as jitter, latency and packet loss and adjusts WAN routing accordingly. It can adjust to changing end user demand and avoid the congestion that frequently affects traditional MPLS WANs.
Cisco DNA is optimized for security and performance. For example, it can detect threats in encrypted traffic without needing to perform decryption first, plus it integrates with numerous other common networking services and protocols to minimize disruptions as your network evolves.
Neither SD-WANs nor DNA are inexpensive, but they save money elsewhere by protecting critical IT infrastructure from harm. As you build a network for your business, it pays to know the ins and outs of the latest industry technologies, which you can explore at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. Take a look at our Cisco certifications page as well as our upcoming webinars to get started today.