Enterasys, the network infrastructure division of Siemens Enterprise, is entering the datacentre market with a revamp of its product strategy and partnerships.
Enterasys said on Monday it will base its datacentre portfolio on its S-series switching and routing products, to which it has added several automation features. It said it was now working more closely with other vendors — including virtualisation companies VMware, Microsoft and Citrix and hardware vendors Dell, HP and IBM in order to ensure product interoperability.
"The thrust of the strategy is around network automation," Mark Pearce, Enterasys' UK business development director told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. "We've added more functionality to the S-series, and are continually adding functionality and features into that code."
The company is promoting the S-series' ability to push services and policies — such as QoS settings and security — directly to devices, especially in the context of device redeployment and the greatly increased use of virtualisation in corporate datacentres. The S-series are high capacity redundant switches that operate at transmission speeds of 10Gbps.
"Built-in automation reduces administrative overhead and complexity, ensures high application availability and provides a consistent end-user experience," it said in a statement on Monday. "When the networking team makes a change, such as setting the QoS for an application, that change is automatically propagated across the corresponding VM."
Enterasys will support fibre channel, iSCSI and NFS protocols and both rack and blade architectures within its datacentre strategy. However, it will remain for the time being reliant on the six others vendors' equipment to provide a full datacentre offering.
"We are trying to pursue an open architecture," said Pearce. "We've had relationships with these companies for a number of years, but we're trying to hone in and target the data centre environment. Citrix, VMware and Microsoft are alliance partners."
Roy Illsley, principal analyst at Ovum, said Enterasys' datacentre offering could help businesses run their datacentres, particularly with regards to being able to easily move virtual machines around. But the analyst added that the portfolio was not unique in the market. "It's making the management of the datacentre easier. Is it unique? No," Illsley told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.
The analyst likened Enterasys to Juniper, for two reasons: because they are both entering the datacentre market from a networking heritage and because both firms are building their infrastructure to support other vendors' kit. This affords enterprises less vendor lock-in than going with Cisco, he said.
However, Illsley added that, for their datacentres, most businesses were choosing VMware — which is partnering with Cisco and EMC — or Microsoft, with or without its partnership with Citrix.
"Microsoft has a strong play in this," he said. "A lot of mid-tier organisations are very heavy Microsoft shops, and this sort of stuff is aimed at large mid-tier companies that have a significant IT presence."
Brocade, another player with serious intentions in the data centre, unveiled its plans on Friday.
While Enterasys develops its datacentre offering, its parent company Siemens will continue its focus on voice and unified communications. Enterasys will make further datacentre announcements around security, and in particular the virtualisation of network access control (NAC), Pearce said.