Netgear Targets Midmarket Appetite For 10G Connectivity


Netgear Monday debuted a new 10-gigabit switch intended for midmarket companies gradually making the transition to faster, 10-gigabit networking throughput and virtualization-based infrastructure.

According to Netgear, the new ProSafe 52-Port Gigabit Stackable Smart Switch is for companies in the 200-seat range. It's a smart switch -- the term Netgear uses to describe web-managed switches that don't require a dedicated IT person focused on network infrastructure -- and includes 48 gigabit ports and four 10G SFP+ ports for stacking or server uplink. As many as six switches can be stacked.

"There's been a breakthrough in high-speed networking down to a new class of customers," said Peter Newton, senior director of product development at Netgear. "The reason this is so important is with the huge trends in virtualization and the proliferation of Gigabit to the desktop, people want to provide higher-speed connections in their network, whether it's uplinks or top-of-rack connections and virtualized storage."

But what mid-sized companies don't want, Newton said, is to invest heavily in networking firepower they don't yet need. Netgear is positioning the new ProSafe line as offering a low per-port cost but also providing a 10G option for that class of user, he said.

"The increase and activity around 10 gigabit, especially in support to virtualization, has really taken off this year," Newton said. "Everyone sees the cost advantage of virtualization, and disassociating the hardware from the software, server-wise."

The ProSafe 52-Port Gigabit Stackable Smart Switch, or GS752TXS, is available as of Monday, listed at $2,100 in the U.S.

"We're bringing it to that 100 to 200 size customer that had for budgetary reasons stayed away from those products that do offer 10-gig uplinks," he said. "It's going to be great for channel partners to really go out and start pitching virtualization to customers who haven't optimized their infrastructure. For those who have already, the reseller can go back to them and say, let me bring your network up to speed and solve some of the throughput issues."

Netgear has traditionally had resellers who focus on its storage products and others that focus on its networking or security lines, with some overlap. But with virtualization and the trend toward converged networking, Newton said more partners are looking to tell more of the overall story.

"We do try to enable our channel partners to sell all of our technologies," he said. "We see more partners now providing the cross-functional solution. Instead of 'Oh no, I don't do that,' it's 'Tell me a little bit more about that.'"

Newton said 10-gigabit connectivity will continue to be a big story, especially as 10-gigabit throughput on networking equipment becomes more affordable for smaller businesses.

"This is 10-gigabit connectivity, both in the ease of use as well as the price point, made available to a broader class of customer." Newton said. "With this huge sucking sound we're hearing from the market around 10-gig, enabling that for a whole big market segment is definitely news."