Enterasys Intros OneFabric Networking Portfolio

Enterasys' new OneFabric networking offering is putting the company into even tighter competition from the likes of Cisco, HP and Juniper in the burgeoning network fabric space.

Enterasys is rolling out its enterprise networking fabric play, OneFabric, which will look to challenge such heavyweights as Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks.

Enterasys officials unveiled their OneFabric architecture Oct. 17, saying their strategy offers a more complete and less complex solution than those from their competitors.

"There are other solutions out there, but none of them give an end-to-end view of services," Ram Appalaraju, vice president of marketing at Enterasys, said in an interview with eWEEK, adding that similar offerings from other vendors are "fragmented," vendor-specific and lack the ability to offer a single view of the entire infrastructure, from the data center to mobile user environments.

Enterasys' OneFabric is designed to enable businesses to provision the entire network with greater performance and security and manage it all through a single point. The capabilities touch on everything from traditional data centers to cloud environments, and from virtual machines to mobile devices. The OneFabric initiative will enable businesses to flatten their networking infrastructure, reduce costs and simplify operations, according to Appalaraju.

The solution also enables enterprises to adopt it as their needs grow, rather than having to adopt it all at once and replace networking products they've already invested heavily in. Enterasys gives IT administrators three OneFabric solutions they can adopt: OneFabric Data Center, OneFabric Edge and OneFabric Security.

Enterasys' OneFabric solution can help businesses cut management overhead needs by 90 percent and scale to meet the growing demands coming out of increasingly virtualized data centers, according to company officials.

Businesses can leverage Enterasys' new OneFabric Control Center, the central console through which they can manage the entire fabric, and which includes integration with virtual infrastructures from VMware, Citrix Systems and Microsoft, aimed at improving network performance in virtualized data centers.

OneFabric offers tight integration with workflows in virtulization and storage environments, and offers more efficient and less complex application delivery.

Network fabrics have become a driving force in the industry, primarily since Juniper introduced what would become its QFabric initiative several years ago, according to Zeus Kerravala, former Yankee Group analyst and now principal analyst with ZK Research. Now most players are jumping into the fabric competition, driving innovation in a sector of the IT industy where little had existed before.

"Over the past decade, switching hasn't been all that exciting," Kerravala wrote in a blog in April. "Differentiation was built on either being slightly faster than Cisco (Brocade) or slightly cheaper than Cisco (HP) but essentially all the products looked the same."

Now vendors are expanding their reach and offering fabric portfolios with some real differentiation, all aimed at data centers that are increasingly virtualizing and converging their data centers. For example, Cisco has rolled out its Fabric Path portfolio, Juniper has QFabric, HP its FlexNetwork strategy and Avaya has VENA, or Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture. Now users have Enterasys' OneFabric portfolio to consider. The innovation and differentiation in these offerings makes at the networking fabric space an exciting one, according to Kerravala.

"The solutions are different enough, and it's important enough that I think it's not a slam dunk that Cisco wins; and the market is wide open now to the vendor that can prove a distinct advantage in the evolution of the data center," he wrote.