Hyper-Competition Returns to Enterprise Networking

J. Caron
J. Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei’s entrance is making the news, but networking market competition has been increasing across the board from a number of suppliers.
  • Increased enterprise networking competition sharpens the minds of suppliers and certainly benefits buyers.

The past two years have seen a remarkable resurgence in competition within the market for enterprise networking technology.  While there has always been a fairly strong collection of suppliers in this area, the emergence of Cisco as the dominant market-share leader has relegated true competition to those vying for small percentage points gained in geographical, segment or vertical niches.  Now, however, with transitions taking place in terms of multi-gigabit bandwidth demands, wireless integration and data center architecture, all players in the market sense a new opportunity to challenge the incumbent.

This phenomenon, coupled with a brief momentum blip in Cisco’s development progress, has seen suppliers such as Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Enterasys, Extreme, HP, and Juniper invigorate their enterprise networking initiatives, in terms of both technology development as well as marketing.  The real wild card and potential game-changer, however, has been Huawei’s very aggressive – some say audacious – intentions of rapidly expanding its enterprise technology business globally.

Huawei’s initiatives, which cover all aspects of enterprise IT, communications and networking, have met with some skepticism.  There are severe go-to-market issues for the China-based supplier to overcome, for one, and there is still much work to be done to create technological differentiation.  Nevertheless, I have yet to meet an enterprise technology supplier — Cisco included — that does not assume Huawei will be a major competitor in the future.  The company has already proven, after all, that it can succeed in the global marketplace in the service provider infrastructure sector.

I believe that Huawei’s news-making entry in the market, along with the new energy displayed by Cisco’s more traditional enterprise networking competitors, is a tremendously positive development for network and IT buyers.  As always, intense competition sharpens the minds of suppliers, re-doubling their devotion to development and innovation, as well as driving customer-friendly pricing and support.

Whether you are looking at a campus network upgrade (including seamless wireless integration) or designing a new, virtualized data center strategy to enable cloud-like application services, your options are robust and expanding.  This may make the selection process more complex, but this must be seen as a positive result.

What do you think?

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