Networking and network management aren’t new, and from time to time people reflect to me how most of the interesting things that would impact the majority of users have been figured out. So is the networking space just the quiet, slow part of the IT market?  

Thankfully, no. If you don’t watch the networking space every day like we do here at SolarWinds you may have missed a few bits of news that will drive some interesting times for all of us.

  • Huawei makes a push in the U.S. market. If there’s ever been a threat to Cisco, Huawei is it. In the past their U.S. presence has been relatively small but as we go into 2012 I expect that we’ll see them in a lot of places, including the core switching and routing space. Huawei’s got a pretty comprehensive portfolio and supports some of the more broadly deployed technologies like Netflow (they call it NetStream) so I’m sure we’ll see them make some in roads.

  • Dell and Force10 – you may recall that Dell purchased Force10 earlier in the year to help them fill out their networking portfolio. While Dell hasn’t been known as a powerhouse in the networking space they do sell a lot of switches and while they have had the PowerConnect line for a while they resold switches from several partners including Juniper. I expect that with the acquisition you’ll see them switch out partner products for their own (just as they did in the storage space).

  • Juniper has continued to make steady progress in the networking market, despite holding a much smaller share than Cisco their products are clear being adopted by the broader market.

  • Cisco’s not down and out by any stretch of the imagination, so while they see their flank attacked by new competitive offerings I expect we’ll see more from Cisco in both the Nexus line and with respect to UCS.

So, what’s all this mean for us at SolarWinds? Well, other than keeping us busy our goal is to help make sure that our products add value no matter what gear you choose to use. To that end we’ve added support for Huawei’s NetStream technology in Netflow Analyzer (NTA). We’ve also made sure that we support the Force10 gear from Dell with Network Performance Monitor (NPM). The newest release of NPM also adds additional support for Juniper and HP. Of course, the list of new devices and products from all the vendors is always going to be longer than what we can hit out-of-the-box, so please keep the requests coming (on thwack) and know that we’ll prioritize them based on all of your collective input.

Finally in my shout out to configuration management, if you’re going multi-vendor I can’t stress how important the management of configs is. If you haven’t tried Network Configuration Manager (NCM) and you manually deal with managing inventory, config updates, password changes, or security audits then you really are missing an opportunity to simplify your life.  

In the meantime, as you all know, you can always try SolarWinds products like NPM, NCM, and NTA for free, for 30 days.