Enterasys Takes On Cisco, Brocade, HP with Data Center Strategy

Enterasys is driving home the message of heterogeneity as it unveils its data center networking strategy, which will compete with initiatives from a host of other vendors, including Cisco, Brocade, HP and Juniper. The first step in the strategy is enhancements to its S-Series data center switches, including greater automation of management tasks in physical and virtual environments.

Enterasys is unveiling a data center networking strategy that officials say differs from that of Cisco Systems and Brocade Communications in its high level of support for heterogeneous data center environments.

Enterasys, which merged with Siemens Enterprise Communications Group in 2008, on June 14 introduced enhancements to its S-Series portfolio of data center switches as a key part of its overall strategy.

Much of what is being offered by the likes of Cisco, Brocade and Hewlett-Packard-particularly now that it is bulking up its ProCurve networking business through the acquisition of 3Com-is designed to lock in customers to their products, Barry Cioe, vice president of product management and marketing at Enterasys, said in an interview with eWEEK.

"When you peel away the veneer, you'll see the goal is to tie in customers to a homogeneous environment," Cioe said.

Enterasys wants to take a different path, he said. The company's strategy is to make it easier for businesses to manage both their physical and virtual data center environments, and to use products from whatever vendor they want.

The company is enabling its eight-month-old S-Series line of switches to automatically manage and configure physical and virtual switches in the data center. The switches can now monitor changes in virtual machines and dynamically configure network policies and bandwidth for both physical and virtual environments.

The capability will eliminate the need for manual intervention in this area, Cioe said.

Enterasys also will bulk up the switches. Currently they offer 1.28 terabits per second, but will scale to more than 6 Tbps in the future.

They're also ready for 40 Gigabit Ethernet and will be able to 10GbE when the time comes.

"No customer should think about buying anything that's not 40G and 100G ready," Cioe said.

In keeping with its push for openness, the S-Series will work with multiple virtualization technology vendors, including VMware, Citrix Systems and Microsoft, and a host of storage and server vendors, including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

The enhancements to the S-Series are only the beginning as Enterasys looks to build out its data center offerings, Cioe said. The company is planning a series of announcements over the next three quarters as its looks to grow its offerings, he said.