Enterasys, With New Swagger, Dismisses Data Center Rivals As 'Homogeneous'


Enterasys Monday announced upgrades to its S-Series line of data center switching products, as well as a new strategy that its executives say better serves the reality of heterogeneous, multi-vendor data centers than any of its rivals.

Enterasys faces stiff networking and data center competition from Cisco, Juniper and a 3Com-bolstered HP, not to mention Dell and Brocade, both of which made major data center strategy announcements as recently as last week.

But the company lacks nothing for motivation as an underdog, its executives insist.

"The strategies being put out there by a number of vendors, including this past week, are focused on how do I drive customers toward a homogeneous data center where they're buying it from one vendor," said Barry Cioe, vice president of product management and marketing. "The reported benefit of that approach is tighter integration. But you get advantages of tighter integration working with open third parties, too. We don't mind the challenge of having to earn business each and every day. We think it's bad for the market to be locked in."

Last October, Enterasys launched the S-Series, a family of network switches offering Terabit-class routing, switching and provision power and designed for stronger Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) performance, offering four times as much switching capacity and 10 times as much throughput as Enterasys' previous N-Series line.

New as of Monday is additional functionality within the S-Series products that enables them to detect virtual machine changes and based on those changes, automatically configure network policies, priorities and bandwidth in both the data center's virtual and physical environments.

That's important, Cioe noted, because most data center products require manual administration for that kind of troubleshooting.

The other goal, Cioe explained, is for Enterasys to be as versatile as possible with virtualization, server and storage vendors. The S-Series data center products work with Citrix, Microsoft and VMware virtualization offerings, and servers and storage from everyone from HP to Dell and IBM. Enterasys plans to launch new hardware and software and additional partnerships around its data center product development later this year.

"The customers' reality is that they have heterogeneous data centers today and one, three, five years from now, they're hard pressed to say they're not going to be heterogeneous then," Cioe said. "You rarely see anyone with the budget to just say, I'm throwing it all out and putting in a new one. We're building off that: how do you take advantage of new data center capabilities without forcing them to throw away their investment."

Cioe said Enterasys has been pleased with its growth over successive quarters and in recent months has moved to increase its channel profile, as well as become more aggressive in its marketing, touting customer wins over the likes of Cisco, HP and Brocade.

Expect that to continue, he added.

"Take HP-3Com: they're not fessing up with which products are going away even though we all know there's products going away. So we're going to go public with a guarantee that all of ours are staying the way they are -- that's something we know HP-3Com and a number of others aren't going to do because they're about to cut."

Enterasys in July 2008 merged with Siemens Enterprise Communications Group as part of a joint venture between Siemens and the Gores Group, which owns 51 percent of the new company and was Enterasys' previous owner.