Diggin' technology every day

October 6, 2010

Who’s next

Filed under: Networking,Random Thought — Tags: , , — Nate @ 9:42 pm

I was thinking about this earlier this week or late last week I forget.

It wasn’t long ago that IBM acquired Blade Network Technologies, a long time partner of IBM as Blade made a lot of switches for the Blade Center, and also for the HP blade system as well I believe.

I don’t think that Blade Networks was really well known outside of their niche of being a supplier to HP and IBM (and maybe others I don’t recall and haven’t checked recently) on the back end. I certainly never heard of them until in the past year or two and I do keep my eyes out there for such companies.

Anyways that is what started my train of thought. The next step in the process was watching several reports on CNBC about companies pulling their IPOs due to market conditions. Which to me is confusing considering how high the “market” has come recently. It apparently just boils down to investors and IPO companies not able to agree on a “market price” or whatever. I don’t really care what the reason is, but the point is this — earlier this year Force10 Networks filed for IPO, and well haven’t heard much of a peep since.

Given the recent fight over 3PAR between Dell and HP, and the continuing saga of stack wars, it got me speculating.

What I think should happen, is Dell should go buy Force10 before they IPO. Dell obviously has no networking talent in house, last I recall their Powerconnect crap was OEM’d from someone like SMC or one of those really low tier providers. I remember someone else making the decision to use that product last year, and then when we tried to send 5% of our network traffic to the site that was running those switches they flat out died, had to get remote hands to reboot them. Then shortly afterwards one of them bricked themselves when upgrading the firmware on them, had to RMA. I just pointed and laughed, since I knew it was a mistake to go with them to begin with, the people making the decisions just didn’t know any better. Several outages later they ended up replacing them, and I tought them the benefits of a true layer 3 network, no more static routes.

Then HP should go buy Extreme Networks, which is my favorite network switching company, I think HP could do well with them. Yes we all know HP bought 3COM last year, but we also know HP didn’t buy 3COM for the technology (no matter what the official company line is), they bought them for their presence in China. 3COM was practically a Chinese company by the time HP bought them, really! And yes I did read the news that HP finished kicking Cisco out of their data centers replacing their stuff with a combination of Procurve and 3COM. Juniper tried & failed to buy Extreme a few years ago shortly after they bought Netscreen.

That would make my day though, a c-Class blade system with an Extreme XOS-powered VirtualConnect Ethernet fabric combined with 3PAR storage on the back end. Hell, that’d make my year 🙂

And after that, given that HP bought Palm earlier in the year (yes I own a Palm Pre – mainly so I can run older Palm apps otherwise I’d still be on a feature phone). HP likes the consumer space so they should go buy Tivo and break into the set top box market. Did I mention I use Tivo too? I have 3 of them.


  1. I think Dell would be foolish to buy Turin/Force10. While Dell certainly provides poor support on their networking hardware, a few of the boxes perform adequately and are price competitive with the far east vendors (Quanta, SMC, etc). The Dell 6248 runs the same LVL7 OS as the F10 S50 originally did. Similar L2 performance but the control plane processor is underpowered in the 6248 compared to the S50. I think Force10, Foundry, and Extreme are dead end brands. They haven’t done a good job differentiating themselves and are threatened by Junipers product lines. The Juniper EX4200 is superior to the aforementioned vendors comparable products and is at similar price points.

    Comment by tinkthank — October 7, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  2. Back again huh 🙂 I agree Juniper has decent quality products but I do not agree on the price points. The EX4k is significantly higher cost than Force10, Brocade, Extreme. My VAR deals with all brand very heavily and has very good relationships with Juniper, Force10 and Extreme(less so with Brocade). Now I’m not talking double or triple the price but talking 30-50%+ depending on the model, with force10 being the lowest cost(of the bunch).

    He(VAR) shared your viewpoint at one point, until I got him to look at the Extreme products again and he went and asked his network engineers(they were one of earliest/biggest resellers of Extreme stuff back in the 90s) — these guys know it all experts in everything, they even have a guy who teaches CCIE classes on the side and goes to customers and tells them specifically where Cisco technology falls apart. I really want to meet him, should be meeting him in the next couple of months. And they recommend Extreme hands down for many deployments(not all mind you not everyone is suitable for every situation).

    I do believe they are not for everyone, no product or vendor can cover all ranges of situations.

    About the only vendor that is less competitive on price for switches is Cisco.

    I have a friend down in Arizona who’s network engineers have deployed Cisco, Extreme and Juniper, and recall an interesting comment from him. I can’t quote directly but it was along the lines of the Juniper gear wasn’t really built for the “enterprise”, it was very “service provider” oriented. Lacked a bunch of enterprise features. Again it’s just one example(and sorry I can’t cite specifics though I can call him up and ask him). I’ve always viewed Junipers stuff as great if you are a service provider – why buy Cisco or something else if you have a bunch of Juniper routers in house already. Same OS as the routers, your good to go.

    But in other situations… not so much of an advantage there.

    thanks for the post! appreciate the insight.

    Comment by Nate — October 7, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

  3. If you’re comparing list price then the juniper ex4200 is 30% more than than the f10 s50. However a lot of folks are seeing 60 points off on the juniper and only 45 points on the s50. You mileage may vary. And maybe I still hold a grudge against f10 for requiring me to rma all my switches back in 2008 to get new firmware on them, and
    Then not holding to the features they promised on releases. All switch vendors suck, some suck a little less. Well, except for extreme, as they suck the most. FYI – I’ve only done large scale services so other than my personal colo rack, only deal with large networks.

    Comment by Tinkthank — October 9, 2010 @ 12:39 am

  4. […] that it matters to me too much either way but Dell just bought Force10. I called it! Well it matters to me in that I didn’t want Dell near my Extreme […]

    Pingback by I called it! – Force10 bought by Dell « — July 20, 2011 @ 11:35 am

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