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Posted by Clement Teo on August 18, 2013
by Clement Teo, Bryan Wang, Katyayan Gupta
We recently met with Huawei executives during the launch of its latest product in China, the S12700 switch. The product, which ships in limited quantity in Q1 2014 is designed for managing campus networks, and acts as a core and aggregation switch in the heart of campus networks. While wired/wireless convergence, policy control and management come as standard features, the draw is the Ethernet Network Processor (ENP). The ENP competes against merchant silicon in competitive switch products, and Huawei claims to be able to deliver new programmable services in six months, compared to one to three years for competitive application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips. This helps IT managers respond quicker to the needs of campus network users, especially in the age of BYOD, Big Data, and cloud computing.
While it is a commendable product in its own right, Huawei will need to position its value more strategically against IT managers that have technology inertia, especially in ‘Cisco-heavy’ networks:
At the launch, Huawei also announced that access switches with programmable ENP (again in limited numbers) will be available in Q1 2014. Compared with convincing network managers to replace the network’s core, which is an uphill task given the entrenched incumbent in the space, it might be an easier play to for them to start trials from the edge of the campus.