Can price alone drive your networking buys?

Would you consider a "value-priced" chassis for your core networking needs?
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

Does a value priced enterprise switch chassis have a place in your environment? D-Link is betting that it does as they make their first foray into core enterprise networking in an attempt to raise the company out of the SOHO and SMB market space.

It seems really unlikely that enterprise network management has D-Link on their list of preferred providers for network switching equipment, and it looks like D-link is taking the approach that value will get their foot in the door (though actual pricing didn't accompany their Interop announcement this week). But will the target market take their enterprise switching chassis announcement seriously?

D-Link is positioning the chassis as "the ideal choice as the core switch in medium enterprise networks, as the distribution switch in mid-to-large enterprises or as a future-proof wiring closet in the largest network environments"  which pretty much translates into "We think that anyone needing a chassis based switch should consider us."  But will they be able to draw in the enterprise market?

I don't have anything against the D-Link products; in point of fact, I once built a fairly large lab test network using 15 of their GbE switches and was happy with their performance. But that is a far cry from betting your corporate backbone on a newcomer to the enterprise switch market.  So what about their other targets; utilization as a distribution switch or wiring closet chassis? For that they will be going directly into the teeth of the latest marketing blitz from the big boys, who are pushing for completely homogeneous networking and computing options.

I see their obvious market as their existing high-end SMB customer who is looking for the capability to build their networking infrastructure to support the growth of their business as they push to becoming an enterprise-sized business. These folks haven't already made an investment in an enterprise infrastructure and are good markets because the value side of the purchase equation will have a much more direct appeal to someone who is moving up.

I don't see the large, enterprise user choosing to add yet another device that needs to be managed and whose foibles and peccadilloes will need to be discovered by line IT.  Value isn't just in the purchase price; for enterprise IT it is in the ongoing support and operational expenses.  So what do you think; will you consider a value-priced enterprise chassis, from a vendor you don't currently use,  for your general purpose networking needs?

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