Re: Best thing about fabric is…
Yes - I've been working with Cisco gear for almost as long.
I think Cisco has missed the boat in so many regards. Hardware is becoming more and more commodity and cheaper and Cisco still wants to aim for the high end and charge a premium for everything. The only area they are still doing quite well in is wireless.
Routing devices are horrendously overpriced compared to competition, switching for straightforward deployments involves silly things like paying for a DNA license even though the customer doesn't even have a DNA centre. Firewall? The technology they have is long overtaken by Palo Alto and ASA just doesn't stack up. I've done ASA to PA migrations in every job I have had in the last 8 years (and these haven't all been my decision).
Meraki? Good, but very very feature limited and just as expensive as Cisco Enterprise over 5 years (but with a reasonable cloud based UI).
Monitoring? DNA centre has never been even remotely within reach of any organisation I have ever worked with. I tend to work for small-medium sized organisations (up to 200 sites) and they just cannot justify the cost of a management platform (hardware, software, support) that costs more than a body on a seat each year. A DNA-Express option might fly in some places (just like Callmanager Express - although while that was good there was no upgrade path from Express to Full)
Cloud? Networking in the DC is moving all virtual, and the organisation now is moving from on-prem into Azure with Azure networking so Cisco don't get a look in there. In fact DC Cisco hardware will be decomissioned along with everything else when we finally move out.
So disappointing. I suppose when you are the undisputed leader in something, there's only one way you can go - and that's down.