Cisco Leads Ethernet Switch Space Driven by 10GbE Demand: IDC

Vendors like Cisco, HP and Juniper are seeing a strong push by organizations looking for 10GbE and 40GbE in their data center networks.

Growing demand for 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet is driving strong growth in Ethernet switching in enterprises, according to analysts at IDC.

Revenues in the global Ethernet switch market hit a record $5.96 billion in the fourth quarter, a jump of 4.8 percent from the same period in 2012. For the entire year, revenues grew 3 percent, the analysts said.

Fueling those increases is rising demand for the enhanced speed and capacity in data center networks, particularly for 10GbE switches, though interest in 40GbE also is growing, according to IDC's Feb. 27 report. Sales of 10GbE switching jumped 9.3 percent in the fourth quarter, while 10GbE switch port shipments increased 35.5 percent, to 5.4 million ports during those three months.

Early-stage 40GbE deployments are reaching the point where they can be considered a stand-alone segment, the analyst said.

"The worldwide Ethernet switch market is increasingly diverging into two market segments with different market dynamics—the enterprise campus segment, which includes the network edge that integrates mobility, and the higher growth data center segment," Rohit, Mehra, vice president for network infrastructure at IDC, said in a statement. "Taking into account fairly significant regional variations, the campus segment is relatively stable while the data center continues to reflect the rapid explosion of 10GbE and 40GbE switch ports shipments."

IDC's report echoes a similar one put out by analysts at Dell'Oro Group Feb. 25, which found that revenues in the Ethernet switch market exceeded $22 billion in 2013 and that most segments saw record sales growth during the year.

"Cloud providers' insatiable demand for network equipment and strong growth in enterprise data centers contributed to the majority of the revenue increase we saw in the Ethernet switch market," Alan Weckel, vice president of Ethernet switch market research at Dell'Oro, said in a statement.

Weckel also said that interest from large cloud providers helped white-box switch makers gain ground in 2013, and that a record number of vendors—including Cisco Systems, Dell, Extreme Networks (with its $180 million acquisition last year of Enterasys Networks), Juniper Networks, Hewlett-Packard and Huawei Technologies—saw sales grow beyond $400 million in 2013.

IDC analysts found that Cisco continues to be the top Ethernet switch vendor, with 61.3 percent of the market last year and 64 percent in the 10GbE switch space in the fourth quarter. For all of 2013, Cisco saw revenues rise 2.1 percent from the previous year.

HP's revenues jumped 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter and 4.4 percent for the whole year. The company controls 9.3 percent of the market. Juniper saw Ethernet switch revenues in the fourth quarter jump 39.7percent. IDC analysts also said the company, which announced a new business plan earlier this month, also saw strong gains in the router space, with sales increasing 15.1 percent from the same quarter in 2012.

The global router market saw revenues increase 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter and 1.5 percent for all of 2013, according to IDC.