ACME Packet Training
I spent the last week in Boston, MA at ACME Packet taking a configuration basics course for their Net-Net 4000 products. For those not familiar with ACME Packet, they make Session Border Controllers for VoIP applications. They claim to be the inventor of the SBC and historically have sold to carriers (and done very well). They recently bought Covergence, aiming to take a stab at the enterprise & commercial market with their rebranded Net-Net 2600.
A few thoughts from the last week:
- Anyone who is familiar with 1) configuring network devices via a CLI and can telnet/ssh/ftp via a command line and 2) VoIP & SIP should skip straight to their advanced configuration class. Out of the five days only two were all that useful (Wed/Thur when we talked about basic SIP config for the Net-Net in Access Backbone and Peering environments).
- These products are powerful in a big way. Very impressed by the product both in terms of features and scalability.
- I’m a little green (only been in the industry 3-4 years), but in my mind ACME has put together a horrendous CLI (they call it the ACLI, ACME CLI). I really like where they’re headed with the object-oriented nature, but the implementation is downright scary. Even the simplest configuration tasks quickly become painful. Be ready for huge, complex configs while you curse & swear at your keyboard finding yourself yet again lost in their poorly labeled contexts.
- Their Net-Net 2600 is an especially interesting product in that it fits very well in the enterprise & commercial space. On-box transcoding up to 400 sessions and (according to them) all the same features as their 3800-4500 products make for quite the SBC. If you figure 400 sessions is ~17 PRIs you can see this “low-end” model will scale very well for most organizations. And that’s only if you need transcoding. Take out the transcoding and the session limits go sky-high like their other products. I’m very interested in taking the config class for the 2600 product.
- Pricing. I’ve only heard rumors, but it sounds like their products are ridiculously expensive. I think the pricing might have worked well in the carrier space, but they may have a difficult time penetrating the enterprise market if the numbers I’ve heard are actually true. If I can buy 10 3900-series ISR G2’s from Cisco for the same price as one ACME Net-Net I’m going to have a tough time justifying the purchase to mgmt even if it is the better product.