Monday, July 30, 2012

Cisco’s WARNING – Error Message Shows Customer is Protected

The Cisco Customer’s Chassis and Smart Net service level is protected by the anti-Monopolistic Magnusson-Moss Act when 3rd party optics are installed (as is the case with all platforms, not just Cisco).  Let’s look closer at what their legal department carefully conveys when a non-Cisco optic is detected in the chassis.  (It is important to know that this below message does not come up when our optics are installed because Approved Optics are plug and no error message).
The below ‘warning” unsupported-transceiver message shows that Cisco is VERY AWARE of the Magnusson-Moss Act protection on the chassis, and they are careful not to deny service based on a working 3rd party Transceiver or they can be sued!

 Warning: When Cisco determines that a fault or defect can be traced to
 the use of third-party transceivers installed by a customer or reseller,
 then, at Cisco’s discretion, Cisco may withhold support under warranty or
 a Cisco support program. In the course of providing support for a Cisco
 networking product Cisco may require that the end user install Cisco
 transceivers if Cisco determines that removing third-party parts will
 assist Cisco in diagnosing the cause of a support issue

The above language is used to confuse and intimidate an engineer who is not clear on their warranty rights.   As you can see, Cisco is claiming they will require a Cisco transceiver or “may” withhold support ONLY when it is determined that a fault or defect can be traced to the 3rd party transceiver.  This means that the transceiver MUST BE FAULTY (and they must prove it), otherwise they CANNOT lower their service level on any part of the chassis or OS if there is a working 3rd party optic in the port.   They can ONLY suggest original replacement if the part is NOT FUNCTIONING.  What most engineers realize is that the antidote to a non-functioning 3rd party optic is the same antidote to a non-functioning original Cisco optic, simply pop another one in.
So to summarize, in a TAC scenario, if the customer has an original Cisco transceiver installed and it degrades or falters, the Cisco support professional will suggest that the customer replace it.  If the same thing happens with a 3rd party optic, and they can determine that the optic is faltering, they ‘may’ require the end user to replace the part.  Again, this is the same thing they would do if it was a Cisco branded part.   When the customer simply replaces the faltering optic with a working optic, CISCO CANNOT DENY ANY SOFTWARE OR HARDWARE SERVICE OR THEY ARE LEGALLY LIABLE.
What our customers have realized is that the lowest common denominator to saving 10’s of $1000’s of dollars on optics, comes down to the fact that if an optic is failing, whether it’s Cisco or 3rd, the antidote to insuring TAC service on the chassis is to simply replace the failed optic with a spare.  Customers have been doing this for years.  It is the exact same process and nothing has to be changed.
You will also find that although Cisco Sales Reps and Engineers will verbally warn someone from saving money on optics and sight the ‘smartnet risk’ with doing so, they will never put it in writing, otherwise Cisco could be sued.  You will also find that Cisco support professionals will never mandate the replacement of 3rd party optic in writing when they are not absolutely sure it’s the optic, because this also opens them up for liability.  If the optic is bad, Cisco original or 3rd, the antidote is the same, simply replace it.  Most of our customers don’t bother keeping a Cisco original spare around.  The Magnusson-Moss covers the spar that is used as well.