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NS 02-18-2004 01:37 AM

Lies, D^mned Lies, and Cisco's WebVPN.
 
By gum, I've been in this business long enough to know not
to offer solutions to customers based on marketing literature
disguised as technical details (what they usually call "data
sheets"). But this was as specific as can be, and I'd had more
than a few good experiences with Cisco delivering what they
promised was ready-to-go.

Egg's on my face this time. Based on an unequivocal Cisco
claim, I suggested several customers hold off acquiring a
much-needed solution for secure Web-based access to email
through iNotes on internal servers. How much longer Cisco
will have it up there I don't know, but here's a Cisco URL
describing the "capabilities" of their WebVPN (SSL proxy/
"VPN"), followed by the excerpt with the iNotes claim:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns...0801f0a72.html

"WebVPN is a feature introduced in VPN 3000 Series Concentrator
software release 4.1, and provides clientless application access
established from a SSL capable Web browser without requiring users to
install any client software. Nor are there any additional feature
licensing costs incurred. In addition, the VPN 3000 Series
Concentrator offers both, its award-winning IPSec functionality as
well as clientless SSL VPN capabilities on a single platform family.
The combination of WebVPN and the robust client-based IPSec VPN
solution of the VPN 3000 provides unparalleled deployment flexibility
and ease of management for meeting the requirements of any remote
access user population. Available applications include Web page
access, Windows (CIFS) file shares (via Web interface), Email (SMTP,
POP, IMAP, MAPI/Exchange, Outlook Web Access, Lotus Notes, and Lotus
iNotes), as well as most TCP-based client-server applications."

The above is verbatim, not a word or punctuation mark changed.
Do you see what I see? "iNotes." Cisco's has been making that
claim since November. Well, they finally released the 4.1 code
for WebVPN, along with the 4.1 release notes. Based on Cisco's
explicit claim, I advised customers who either already have
Cisco VPN 3000-series concentrators or who were planning to
get one for months to hold off on their evaluation, purchase,
and implementation projects for secure Internet iNotes access.
Now guess what I find in the Cisco release notes for the 4.1
code they made public a few weeks ago? Simply:

"WebVPN Does Not Support Lotus iNotes and Microsoft Exchange.
In this release, WebVPN does not support the Lotus iNotes and
Microsoft Exchange (Outlook/Exchange Proxy) applications."

GREAT. Thanks for the presentations and the data sheets and
the like, Cisco. Thanks for the claims. Now I get to go to
these customers, who at least up to now like me and trust my
advice, and say, "Gee, they named the app, you figure they've
done their testing. Heck of a claim to make if you haven't.
I thought Cisco would be telling the truth on this one.
Sorry for messing you up."

So, OK, the morals: 1) Remember not to trust data sheets;
don't fall off that wagon even for extra-specific claims.
2) Double the advice in #1 for Cisco. 3) If you happen to
be one of the gajillion (iNotes is bigger than ya'll might
realize) who needs secure Web-based access for iNotes and
you were waiting for WebVPN based on Cisco's claims, now
you know better.

If I save even one other provider or customer and all that...

NS

Aaron Leonard 02-18-2004 07:59 PM

Re: Lies, D^mned Lies, and Cisco's WebVPN.
 
NS,

Thanks for the information regarding the incorrect data sheet.
I've contacted the product manager who is making sure that this
is corrected. He told me that he's put the document change request
for the IPSec/SSL data sheet, referenced by your original post, into
the pipeline, but unfortunately it takes a while for the
change to become visible on the Web.

We regret the inaccurate information. The data sheet for
the VPN 3000 is correct:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/...0801d3b56.html

Aaron

---

~ By gum, I've been in this business long enough to know not
~ to offer solutions to customers based on marketing literature
~ disguised as technical details (what they usually call "data
~ sheets"). But this was as specific as can be, and I'd had more
~ than a few good experiences with Cisco delivering what they
~ promised was ready-to-go.
~
~ Egg's on my face this time. Based on an unequivocal Cisco
~ claim, I suggested several customers hold off acquiring a
~ much-needed solution for secure Web-based access to email
~ through iNotes on internal servers. How much longer Cisco
~ will have it up there I don't know, but here's a Cisco URL
~ describing the "capabilities" of their WebVPN (SSL proxy/
~ "VPN"), followed by the excerpt with the iNotes claim:
~
~ http://www.cisco.com/en/US/netsol/ns...0801f0a72.html
~
~ "WebVPN is a feature introduced in VPN 3000 Series Concentrator
~ software release 4.1, and provides clientless application access
~ established from a SSL capable Web browser without requiring users to
~ install any client software. Nor are there any additional feature
~ licensing costs incurred. In addition, the VPN 3000 Series
~ Concentrator offers both, its award-winning IPSec functionality as
~ well as clientless SSL VPN capabilities on a single platform family.
~ The combination of WebVPN and the robust client-based IPSec VPN
~ solution of the VPN 3000 provides unparalleled deployment flexibility
~ and ease of management for meeting the requirements of any remote
~ access user population. Available applications include Web page
~ access, Windows (CIFS) file shares (via Web interface), Email (SMTP,
~ POP, IMAP, MAPI/Exchange, Outlook Web Access, Lotus Notes, and Lotus
~ iNotes), as well as most TCP-based client-server applications."
~
~ The above is verbatim, not a word or punctuation mark changed.
~ Do you see what I see? "iNotes." Cisco's has been making that
~ claim since November. Well, they finally released the 4.1 code
~ for WebVPN, along with the 4.1 release notes. Based on Cisco's
~ explicit claim, I advised customers who either already have
~ Cisco VPN 3000-series concentrators or who were planning to
~ get one for months to hold off on their evaluation, purchase,
~ and implementation projects for secure Internet iNotes access.
~ Now guess what I find in the Cisco release notes for the 4.1
~ code they made public a few weeks ago? Simply:
~
~ "WebVPN Does Not Support Lotus iNotes and Microsoft Exchange.
~ In this release, WebVPN does not support the Lotus iNotes and
~ Microsoft Exchange (Outlook/Exchange Proxy) applications."
~
~ GREAT. Thanks for the presentations and the data sheets and
~ the like, Cisco. Thanks for the claims. Now I get to go to
~ these customers, who at least up to now like me and trust my
~ advice, and say, "Gee, they named the app, you figure they've
~ done their testing. Heck of a claim to make if you haven't.
~ I thought Cisco would be telling the truth on this one.
~ Sorry for messing you up."
~
~ So, OK, the morals: 1) Remember not to trust data sheets;
~ don't fall off that wagon even for extra-specific claims.
~ 2) Double the advice in #1 for Cisco. 3) If you happen to
~ be one of the gajillion (iNotes is bigger than ya'll might
~ realize) who needs secure Web-based access for iNotes and
~ you were waiting for WebVPN based on Cisco's claims, now
~ you know better.
~
~ If I save even one other provider or customer and all that...
~
~ NS


NS 02-22-2004 11:51 PM

Re: Lies, D^mned Lies, and Cisco's WebVPN.
 
Aaron Leonard <Aaron@Cisco.COM> oozed in message
news:<jhg730d9fp8ahuju59ic0v1li4juhfcn05@4ax.com>. ..

> Thanks for the information regarding the incorrect data sheet.


You're welcome. What's my reward?

> I've contacted the product manager who is making sure that this
> is corrected. He told me that he's put the document change request
> for the IPSec/SSL data sheet, referenced by your original post, into
> the pipeline, but unfortunately it takes a while for the
> change to become visible on the Web.


Yeah. OK. Tell you what. Despite that busted down rusted out
falling apart Pinto pumping toxic fumes into the interior you're
driving around, wait three months before you go get that vehicle
replacement you were planning on. Why? 'Cause in just three short
months, we here at Honda are giving away free Accord EX Special
Edition V6 Coupes to all Cisco employees. And make sure to pass
the word around to any friends and business partners who drive
junkers, too.

Don't sweat it. Consider the above claim a data sheet.

(No, I don't work for Honda. But you get the idea.)

> We regret the inaccurate information.


You regret the ... false claims and advertising. Glad to hear
it, but I'll bet not as much as I do. Tell you what. It's your
data sheet. If I send you my applicable customers' addresses,
will you send each of them a Whale e-Gap solution for their
in some cases considerable loss of time?

Thanks, I figured you would. Cisco always makes it right.

Ned


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