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Keeping the Edge

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

The Indian market is moving toward adopting a high performance network as

businesses demand more from IT. Today, performance of the network matters more

than ever before and the criterion for buying and operating a network has

changed dramatically. High performance businesses are driving richer and

ubiquitous applications, which, in turn, are driving the need for faster,

reliable, and more secure networks.

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In this scenario, the Indian switch market has changed with wide adoption of

world-class IT networks across all verticals. Switches have continued to

maintain the edge they had in speed while gaining in features. The market is

booming with high PC penetration, helping to buyout the IT, ITeS, and BPO

segments. Convergence of voice, video and applications is driving huge

investments in high performance networks. Metro Ethernet deployment, too, is

fueling this growth.

The market grew by 16-17% to Rs 2,316 crore during FY 2007-08 up from Rs

1,980 crore in FY 2006-07. The market is dominated by Cisco, which grew its

revenue by 20% to Rs 1,736.4 crore in FY 2007-08 from Rs 1,447 crore in the last

fiscal. Cisco continues to be #1 with a market share of 74.9%, improving its

market share as compared to the previous fiscal's 73%.

D-Link shows very marginal growth of 0.8% and registers revenues of Rs 130

crore in FY 2007-08 compared to Rs 129 crore in the last fiscal.

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Nortel also improved marginally; from Rs 126 crore in FY 2006-07 to Rs 128

crore in FY 2007-2008.

3Com, on the other hand, has shown substantial improvement in revenues-from

Rs 79 crore in FY 2006-07 to Rs 94 crore in FY 2007-2008, registering a 20%

growth rate.

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Dax is another major player which grew by 10% at Rs 26.4 crore in FY 2007-08

from Rs 24 crore in FY 2006-07.

Major Contributors



Continued growth and transformation across all key sectors of the Indian

economy, like manufacturing, infrastructure, banking, retail, government and

defense, IT/ITeS, telecom, and BPOs are the major growth drivers of the switches

market. On the technology front, increased adoption of collaborative technology,

unified communications, data centers, and security solutions in India are the

other growth drivers.

The medium business segment is driving growth in India as it has realized

that IT and networking operations help to retain strong market competitiveness.

Hence, besides basic computerization, the SMB segment is adopting more

sophisticated applications like ERP, thereby leading to the need for a reliable

network infrastructure.

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All forms of communication and IT are moving onto the network, which is

becoming a revolutionary new platform. The evolving nature and structure of

networks are generating new rules of engagement and interaction. Furthermore,

collaborative and Web 2.0 technologies on the network will spark dramatic

innovation and productivity increases.

Consolidation of branch offices, new data centers, and increase in demand of

bandwidth applications are some other growth drivers.

Market Dynamics



With increase in the total number of endpoints connected to the LAN,

increasing diversity of traffic flows on the LAN through network convergence,

and more awareness regarding security caused due to an underlying technology

shift in the Ethernet switch market, has resulted in LANs becoming more

intelligent and with increased bandwidth. Gigabit Ethernet and Layer 3 switches,

too, are expected to fuel the switching demand further in the coming years.

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Switches are becoming faster with Gigabit switches being the buzzword. These

switches, with their ability to handle high bandwidth, are selling like hot

cakes and the adoption of 10 Gbps is also picking up.

Some of the other trends initiating growth in the switches market are data

centers and server consolidation. Consolidation, virtualization and automation

are key innovations that enable efficient utilization of data center space,

power, cooling, IT resources, and also help in better alignment of IT resources

with business objectives.

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As networks grow in complexity and each industry vertical looks for

vertical-specific solutions, enterprises are looking at solutions that will

allow them to integrate security in every aspect on their network, to create an

end-to-end security system.

The switches market is looking at power over Ethernet as VoIP handsets and

other networked devices come to the market. PoE is also becoming increasingly

popular with companies looking to reduce their carbon emissions.

IP communications, wireless and collaborative applications, video, network,

intelligence, and optimization for Web 2.0 are some of the other important

market trends. Besides, IPv6 enabled switches, access control by integrating the

switch with dedicated anti-virus, IDS, IPS devices, bandwidth bundling/load

balancing with multiple Internet links are some of the recent trends in

technology.

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Latest Arrivals



Technology additions have dominated market trends during the last fiscal.

Most companies have enhanced their product portfolio by adding the latest

technology. One of the most significant additions in Cisco's product portfolio

is the launch of the Cisco Nexus Series.

The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series is the flagship member of the Cisco Nexus Family,

the first in a new data center class of switching products. The Nexus 7000 is a

highly scalable modular platform that delivers up to 15 terabits per second of

switching capacity in a single chassis, supporting up to 512

10-gigabits-per-second (Gbps) Ethernet and future delivery of 40- and 100-Gbps

Ethernet. It is designed specifically for the data center with improved airflow,

integrated cable management, and resilient platform architecture.

In FY 2007-08, D-Link focused on green Ethernet, switches with in-built

protection against DoS attacks, and unified wired and wireless LAN switches.

Juniper's strategy for the current year is to provide enterprise customers with

a no-compromise, system-based approach to high performance networking that

accelerates the delivery of applications and services across the extended

enterprise.

High-end chassis, 10G enabled L2 switches, switching with time-based access

list, IPv6 enabled switching, multiple port combination switches, data

acquisition and device management, high performance delivery are some of the

latest technology additions for Dax Networks.

In 3Com's portfolio, the latest technology addition in FY 2007-08 is the 3Com

Baseline Switch 2900 Plus with PoE, VoIP support, and Gigabit.

Main Orders



The year 2007-08 seems to be very beneficial for the switches industry. Most

companies were awarded with huge orders. Dax Networks has bagged a number of big

orders from big companies like Eastern Railways, Gujarat Electricity Board,

University of Mumbai, Punjab School Education, Punjab Police, Kerala University,

Central Bank of India, Vijaya Bank, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, and

SREI Infrastructure Finance.

On the other hand, some major customers who have shown confidence in D-Link's

solutions are Dantiwada University, Sterling Biotech, Goa PWD, East Coast

Railway, Chitkara University, and Central Command.

Key Achievements



With the help of significant achievements, the players have strengthened

their footprints in the switching arena in FY 2007-08. Dax Networks has bagged a

major chassis switches order in the BSNL and STM1 Project. They have introduced

new technology switches with time-based access control and high-density 10G Port

in a single chassis.

Similarly, for D-Link the main achievement in FY 2007-08 has been partner

training. They have trained over 600 partners across the country.

For Cisco one of the most significant achievements this year has been the

launch of the Nexus 7000 series platform. It delivers new levels of operational

continuity, transport flexibility, and infrastructure scalability, built to meet

the demands of the next-generation data center. Juniper's EX Series switches

were launched in January 2008 worldwide, including India.

Problem Areas



In today's increasingly complex business environment, the network is facing

new challenges and must offer more services than ever before. Applications, and

the network infrastructure of switches and routers that transport them, are

crucial tools for enhancing user productivity and increasing the organization's

ability to grow and remain competitive. Large enterprises, small businesses,

educational institutions, and government agencies alike must optimize their

network switching.

Notwithstanding the tremendous growth of the switching industry, a lot of

concerns still exist. The industry's major concern has been inter-operating with

certain existing LAN infrastructure where customers have been made to deploy

proprietary technologies. This is a major hurdle in penetrating some sectors.

However, once end customers are made aware of the facts, they are willing to

move toward standards-based implementation.

The major concern today is that customers have become more demanding, and

good support-both pre-sales and post-sales-is important for them. Today,

organizations are pumping greater investments for providing greater access to

advanced applications across extended geographies.

International Trends



The international networking industry is reaching an inflation point once

again as it did decades back with the advent of the Ethernet. There is a strong

trend toward a high performance network. Switching is moving beyond 10/100 and

layer 2 to more speed to the desktop and operation simplicity for IT managers.

On the other hand, green technology is pervading the networking market as

well, and few companies have announced and launched green Ethernet switches with

high power consumption capabilities.

International consumers are increasingly adopting power over Ethernet

switches instead of using A/C mains to power peripheral devices like access

points, IP phones, and IP cameras.

Industrial switches, hardened switches for extreme climatic conditions, and

fiber-to-the-home switches are major international trends. Besides, declining

prices of Gigabit and 10 Gigabit ports, greater functionality delivered via the

LAN switching infrastructure, and evolution of the SP carrier/metro market are

major market trends.

Outlook



Today's globally competitive business environment has made companies focus

on expanding their business and improving customer satisfaction. Fortunately,

the Internet and networked applications have leveled the playing field.

Companies use their networks to extend their market reach and communicate with

their customers and partners quickly and cost-effectively. But swift and agile

e-business is a double-edged sword-access can also open up businesses to costly

security breaches.

Smart and intelligent switches help enable companies to realize the full

benefits of adding intelligent services into their networks. Deployments of

capabilities that make the network infrastructure highly available to

accommodate time-critical needs, scalable to accommodate growth, secure enough

to protect confidential information, and capable of differentiating and

controlling traffic flows is critical to further optimizing network operations.

From a technology perspective, the Gigabit Ethernet and the 10G Ethernet will

show high growth and from a market perspective, the traditional high-growth

segments will continue to be IT/ITeS and BFSI. In the coming years, the switch

will no more be just a switch. Switching buys will move around 10/100/1000 to

desktops, Layer 3 standardization, embedded power over Ethernet in all switches

(PoE) will be the standard buying criteria.

Arpita Prem



arpitap@cybermedia.co.in

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