The rapidly evolving networking market took another unexpected turn when server powerhouse Dell teamed up with network equipment supplier Juniper. Dell will now resell Juniperï¿¼s MX Series Ethernet services routers, EX Series Ethernet switches and SRX Series services gateways, which all run Juniper's JUNOS operating system software.Increasingly, network equipment is being integrated with servers and storage systems. Cisco and HP are trying to deliver all of those components themselves while competitors have formed a number of alliances. Dell is one of the industryï¿¼s leading server and storage suppliers, so landing the reselling agreement is a coup for Juniper, which is also working with IBM on next generation converged devices. In addition, Dell has an OEM deal with Brocade, which makes storage systems as well as network switches.
The growing number of partnerships is not only muddying the dividing lines among different product genres but also creating uncertainty among suppliers. Can Juniper serve both Dellï¿¼s and IBMï¿¼s needs in the long term?
While it is unclear which vendors will emerge as market leaders as the integrated device market takes shape, the market shift is tightening the vice on traditional network equipment suppliers. At the moment, vendors, such as Aruba, Enterasys, Extreme, Nortel, and 3Com do not have many viable options for expanding their product lines. Consequently, their futures are in doubt.
The market changes will force small and medium businesses to rethink their networking purchases. They need to not only concern themselves with which device offers them the most functionality, but they also have to make sure that their suppliers have viable long term strategies, a call that is very difficult to make in these turbulent times.