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.

About Jeremiah Caron
Jeremiah Caron brings more than 24 years of experience to Current Analysis as a market watcher and influential voice in the telecommunications and information technology industries. As Senior Vice President, Analysis, Jeremiah is responsible for overall management and content direction for the company’s CurrentCompete services, and is part of the corporation’s executive management team. Jeremiah is responsible for monitoring and evaluating activities in consumer services, enterprise technology and software; network and IT services; and service provider infrastructure markets, focusing on the strategies and product development work of service providers, technology suppliers and solution providers.

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