This is particularly bad timing for Cisco. IT spending is up, the economy appears to be heading in the right direction, and IT shops across the globe are restarting stalled projects or starting new ones and need the gear as soon as possible. Most notably, ASAs are Cisco's firewall product, and Internet circuits are costly and generally take months to provision and install. Thus, many companies are awaiting circuit installations with simply no hardware available to handle them. They're definitely not in any position to hold out for Cisco's production blunders to be resolved.
There's even more consternation in larger companies, where Cisco ASAs might be the only option due to stringent equipment validation procedures and policies. If an ASA is the only firewall that policies allow to be installed on the network, then those policies are suddenly going to have to change. If prior testing and validation are required for those policy changes, then plenty of IT admins will be spending quality time with other vendors' gear during that process, not to mention once they're in the field.
It's even more galling that Cisco has stated it is refusing to release a 64-bit version of its standard VPN client in order to force customers to the company's AnyConnect client that requires a Cisco ASA. If you're running Cisco VPN concentrators and facing a raft of users running 64-bit Windows that need VPN access, you're out of luck -- unless you use a non-Cisco client.
Apparently, it's not just firewalls. Customers are reporting huge delays and no promises of delivery dates on Cisco 2960 switches, too. Talk about hindering progress.
If other vendors products are even remotely up to snuff and come in cheaper than the Cisco gear, then they may be able to make significant inroads into places where they've never even had a foothold before -- and all because Cisco dropped the ball.
This story, "Cisco back orders force users to seek alternatives," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in networking, and read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at InfoWorld.com.