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Scaling Down for SMBs

Managed network services vendor ClearPath Networks Inc. and semiconductor specialist Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL) unveiled new products today that aim to provide lower-end users with the level of functionality typically enjoyed by large corporates (see Marvell Intros New SMB Devices).

Taken together these two announcements typify what's happening to several data center technologies. The more common technologies become in data centers, the more component and manufacturing prices drop, making it reasonable for vendors to steer them toward the SMB space.

In April, Heavy Reading made the same point regarding the price of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports, which have dropped by about $30,000 per port in the last year. The report said that with per-port prices of $3,000 or less, 10-Gig Ethernet would become a reality in the enterprise network (see Heavy Reading Examines 10-GigE).

Last week Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) launched an SMB solutions initiative for small and medium-sized businesses that combines Cisco products with services, financing, applications, and training.

ClearPath is targeting one specific element of the SMB space with its new SNAP VPN, which places multiple network and security functions in a single device. The company is attempting to plug a gap in the market whereby many SMBs currently lack the resources to effectively manage their networks. SNAP VPN, which is described by ClearPath as a plug-and-play device, is installed behind a bridge, modem, or router Internet gateway.

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