Dell talks up networking gains

News Christine Horton Jun 23, 2014

Networking VP Tom Burns details Dell’s bid to become top three player alongside Cisco and HP

Dell exec Tom Burns has outlined plans to grow the vendor’s networking business, claiming it is already snapping at the heels of Cisco and HP in certain areas of the market.

Cheryl Cook, Dell’s VP of global channel & alliances recently told attendees at the vendor’s European Enterprise Forum that Dell had overtaken Juniper Networks to bag the number three spot in the worldwide global networking space.

Burns, who is VP and general manager at Dell Networking, spoke to Channel Pro about the firm’s growth and clarified the numbers from analyst group Dell’Oro. “Clearly there’s Cisco, then HP then in the number three spot it’s been a swap back and forth between ourselves, Juniper and Huawei. It’s within $15m per quarter so it’s a very small margin between the number three and four,” he explained.

He added that the growth of the firm’s networking business has been “significant” with 16 consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth.

“Per Dell’Oro, we grew three times the market in calendar year 13. The industry average, depending on datacentre, campus or in total, was around four to five percent. Our growth was between fifteen or sixteen percent, globally.”

Burns (pictured) recognises that Dell still has “very small market share” but maintains that “in the core areas of opportunity, we’re actually number three in blade networking, ahead of Cisco [the main players being HP, IBM, then Dell] and we have good market share in the blade switching area.”

He added that growth in Europe is “well above global growth.”

Dell’s most significant investment in its networking business was the 2011 acquisition of Force10 Networks, a specialist in datacentre-centric switching and routing. This more than anything has contributed to the firm establishing a presence in the networking space.

Burns reckons Dell now has the product portfolio to disrupt the traditional networking market. “We have a clean slate to be very disruptive and very aggressive in certain new trends in the market such as software-defined networking and what we call open networking.”

The vendor announced a partnership with Cumulus Networks in April to support a new “disaggregated networking model” for fixed-configuration switches. It claims it can provide customers with a choice of third-party operating systems, tailoring networks for their specific application needs.

“We were the first networking provider to desegregate the hardware and software and give customers a choice between our full IP stack, or potentially our hardware, services and support plus the integration of third party software coming from a standalone networking software company, such as Cumulus Networks,” commented Burns.

The vendor has also bolstered its networking division with the addition of former director of EMEA channels & alliance at Enterasys, Mark Pearce, who joined Dell as EMEA channel director for networking following Extreme Networks’ acquisition of Enterasys.

“We have an adult brand, and a very strong compute footprint. Our server position allows us to have more discussions with partners and customers that traditional, standalone networking players may not have an opportunity to do that,” added Burns.

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