Just ask Cisco Systems Inc., San Jose, Calif., which not surprisingly is still far and away the space's leading vendor. The study revealed that 47.7 percent of respondents picked Cisco when asked which wired data network infrastructure vendor best meets their needs.
Many partners like Myron Bari, president of New York-based IPM Inc., told VARBusiness they don't plan to stray from Cisco any time soon. Bari maintains that he's not diverging primarily due to his significant investment in training staff to be Cisco-focused.
"Our clients mostly go with the major vendors," Bari said. "We're trying not to get involved in the secondary markets. They may actually save some money, but they're not guaranteed the performance that a major vendor would provide them."
The competition is mounting, however, for second place in the wired space; both Linksys, a division of Cisco, and HP ProCurve are neck and neck with 10.8 percent of the survey's top approval. Netgear Inc., Santa Clara, Calif., follows at 8.1 percent and D-Link Systems Inc., Fountain Valley, Calif., at 7.2.
Despite Cisco's dominance, a majority of solution providers appearing in the survey--65 percent--state that they prefer to use hybrid best-of-breed or best value technologies, as opposed to selling a single vendor to cover all a client's needs.
Leo Bletnitsky, president of Desktop Valet LLC, Las Vegas, said that his company has typically gone with HP and Linksys, whose products are the most cost-effective, he said.
"The lifetime warranties help," Bletnitsky said. "On the networking side, Cisco has limited warranties and it's complicated to work with. HP has similar performance and a good company behind it. It's not like Dell, where you're always calling India."
Partners say that these and other cost-effective solutions resonate with the rapidly growing SMB space. Everything Channel's survey suggests 54 percent of networking channel partners claim that they're focusing on SMB clients with fewer than 100 employees as a main source for their growth. Meanwhile, 56.3 percent said they see significant wired data networking opportunities in businesses with 20 to 99 employees.
"In the SMB space, it's more about the business solution than it is about the wired or wireless components," said Phil Mogavero, CEO of Data Systems Worldwide Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif.