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Ethernet Switch Market: Cisco Declines, Arista Gains

Cisco lost some of its massive share of the Ethernet switch market in the first quarter while its archrival Arista Networks gained ground, according to market-research firm IDC.

Cisco finished the quarter with a year-over-year revenue decline of 3.5% and its market share dropped to 55.1%, down from 59% in the first quarter of 2016, IDC said in a recent report. In the 10 Gigabit Ethernet segment of the market, Cisco's share dipped to 52.4%, down from 53% in the previous quarter.

Cisco's combined service provider and enterprise router revenue declined 13.3% and its market share was 43.9%, down from 48.8% in the first quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, Arista Networks – with which Cisco has been embroiled in a long-running legal battle over intellectual property -- saw its switching revenue rise 37.1% year over year and its market share increase to 5.1%, up from 3.9% in the same quarter a year ago. IDC said Arista's market share in the 100 GbE market segment is 27.8%.

Another competitor, Juniper Networks, also gained ground in the Ethernet switch market, seeing its revenue jump 39.2% year over year, according to IDC. Its first quarter market share was 4.3%, up from 3.2% in the first quarter of 2016. Juniper's share of the service provider and enterprise router market increased to 15.6% compared to 14.5% the same quarter last year. 

IDC said Huawei continued to see healthy growth in both the Ethernet switch and router markets on an annualized basis, with switch revenue growing 69.8% year over year in the first quarter. The vendor's share of the Ethernet switch market was 6.3%, up from 3.9% in the first quarter of 2016. Huawei's enterprise and service provider router revenue increased 17% during that time, and its market share grew a bit to 17%, up from 16.3%.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise saw its switch revenue grow 0.8% sequentially in the first quarter and its market share increase to 6%, up from 5% in the fourth quarter of last year, according to IDC. Below is IDC's interactive chart of the Ethernet switch market.



First-quarter revenue for the worldwide Ethernet switch market was $5.66 billion, up 3.3% year over year. However, the global enterprise and service provider router market posted revenue of $4.35 billion in the first quarter, down 3.7% from the first quarter of 2016.

"This will be a market to watch closely over the coming quarters as software-defined architectures start to take hold across the WAN, with the potential for SD-WAN to disrupt traditional routing architectures and WAN transport services, especially at the network edge," IDC said.

Cisco and Arista have been locked in a legal battle since Cisco sued Arista in December 2014, claiming it stole intellectual property and copied CLI commands. In recent weeks, Arista claimed a couple victories in the case when the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board invalidated two patents the International Trade Commission had found Arista to infringe.