California State University ditches Cisco, saves $100 million

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California State University's decision to replace its 23-campus network with Alcatel-Lucent will save the university a whopping $100 million over eight years, according to a report by Network World early this week. The largest four-year university in the United States, it spans 23 campuses and its network is used by almost 430,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff.

Michel Davidoff, director of cyberinfrastructure at CSU, was quoted as saying that the institution's network is "nothing fancy," and entails a pure Layer 2 network with security and high-availability features for redundancy and load balancing.

The report raised a flood of questions in the comments expressing incredulity at the claim, and requesting additional details.

In response, CSU allowed Network World to review spreadsheets that calculated the total cost of ownership for each of five vendors that submitted a bid for the project. Conclusion: It really was an apples-to-apples comparison.

To summarize the submitted bids, Alcatel-Lucent won the project with a bid of $22 million, with the next highest bid from Brocade at $24 million and Juniper at $31.6 million. HP (NYSE: HPQ) came in the second highest at $41 million, and Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), at just under $123 million. You can see additional details of the equipment type and a breakdown of Alcatel-Lucent's bid here.

The follow-up report also clarified that one of the 23 campuses, the San Jose State University, is forgoing Alcatel-Lucent for a broader Cisco implantation that will cost $28 million over five years.

For more:
- check out this article at Network World
- check out this article at Network World

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