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The growing market for basic Ethernet switches doesn't bother Brocade

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January 29, 2015

The rapidly growing market for 'no-frills' Ethernet switches isn't bothering Brocade for now, according to A/NZ senior director Gary Denman.

Speaking to media reporters over a whole slew of start-of-year announcements, Denman said the bare-metal switch market remains a niche model, but that can change any minute since the market is so competitive.

While Brocade is fully aware that companies are looking to reduce their up-front network equipment costs, unless the user needs the deep access to networking silicon that the bare-metal model cannot provide, there isn't much to differentiate a bare-metal switch.

To be sure, in the enterprise segment and wireless carrier business, network automation is still a more important goal, and Denman said that Brocade believes the combination of the company's subscription-model offerings for hardware as well as software will let it offer a competitive way to keep capital expenditures to a minimum.

But Denman did acknowledge that as more open standards take hold in the software-defined network (SDN) market, network hardware vendors will come under increasing competitive pressure.

Software like Open Daylight is easily replaceable, so vendors basing their offerings on open standards and open source software “have to deliver”, he added.

Denman said Brocade is closely watching the virtual customer premises equipment (CPE) market, in the belief that it will be the segment where SDN starts to impact the enterprise market.

The virtual CPE world offers the programmability, remote control, and agility that wireless carriers want to offer their customers.

For Brocade, the virtual CPE plays into the managed services market, letting a provider new services for a customer (extra bandwidth or value-adds) without a long provisioning lag.

“For example, distributed customers can grow their footprint rapidly, and since the Vyatta controller can run on small devices like Intel's Next Unit of Computing and still handle gigabits of traffic, customers can also keep a spare in the cupboard,” he added.

Brocade's key announcements were port-based encryption for its modular routers and Vyatta is now available for free download on a one-year license.

Source: Brocade.

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