Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Juniper, and Huawei were identified as the top five data center Ethernet switch vendors by respondents to a survey from IHS Markit. For its Data Center Strategies and Leadership North American Enterprise Survey, IHS Markit asked enterprise IT leaders about the data centers they operate.
Respondents ranked a list of eight criteria for choosing their data center Ethernet switch vendors from 1 (most important) to 8 (least important). Security and reliability were the top criteria, while pricing ranked lower.
Security is the top criterion for selecting an Ethernet switch vendor. “On-premises data centers are likely targets, and equipment that can be compromised because it has not been designed to withstand attacks can expose the enterprise to unwanted risks,” said Cliff Grossner, senior research director and advisor for cloud and data center at IHS Markit.
Enterprises evaluating Ethernet switch vendors also want assurance that they can count on their vendors, ranking reliability as their second highest criteria. “As enterprises’ applications served from the on-premises data center become more critical to the business, their ability to tolerate service interruptions is significantly reduced,” said Grossner. “When problems do occur, it is imperative vendors handle them quickly and efficiently.”
In terms of rating the vendors across criteria, Grossner acknowledged that this was a prompted question — respondents could only select from a provided list of vendors. But IHS Markit adjusted its results to try to account for bias based on a respondent’s familiarity with a vendor.
According to the research:
- Cisco is No. 1 with on average 44 percent of respondents placing it in the top three across all categories. Cisco’s lowest score (41 percent) was for service and support.
- Dell is No. 2 with on average 31 percent of respondents placing it in the top three across all categories. Dell’s lowest score was for financial stability (28 percent).
- HPE is No. 3 with on average 23 percent of respondents placing it in the top three across all categories. HPE’s lowest score was for pricing model (21 percent).
- Juniper ranked No. 4 with on average 18 percent of respondents placing it in the top three across all categories. Juniper’s weakest scores were for product roadmap, pricing model, and product reliability (16 percent).
- Huawei is No. 5 with on average 14 percent of respondents placing it in the top three across all categories. Huawei’s weakest criterion was solution breadth at 9 percent.
Data Center Transformation
Enterprises are transforming their on-premises data centers to a cloud architecture. And IHS Markit’s periodic survey also follows trends in this transformation. The research group notes that enterprises are diversifying their servers, increasing their software-defined storage with solid state drives (SSD), and moving their data center networks to higher speeds.
“Looking at units shipped, enterprise-purchased servers are a shrinking portion of the overall market,” said Grossner. “But this is due to higher growth in the telco and cloud segments.” The research group predicts revenue from enterprise-purchased servers to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2 percent from 2017 to 2022.