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Global Ethernet switch market grows 8% in Q2, IDC report says

IDC follows Ethernet switch market growth in 2017, Extreme lines up purchase of Brocade IP data unit, Purdue University uses wireless to gather plant data and Gartner tracks changes for CIOs.

The Ethernet switch market posted $6.43 billion in sales in the second quarter of 2017, rising 7.8% from the year-earlier...

period, according to IDC's latest Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch Tracker and Worldwide Quarterly Router Tracker reports.

The growth in the switch market masked a drop in enterprise router sales, which fell 7.1% during the quarter, as software-defined architectures began to take hold, the IDC report said.

Within the Ethernet segment, IDC said rapid adoption of 25 Gigabit Ethernet top-of-rack switches for cloud and hyperscale data centers spurred a 27.7% decrease in 40 GbE port shipments. Meantime, 100 GbE shipments grew more than sixfold, as enterprises deployed higher-capacity switches. 

IDC saw evidence for a "maturing campus segment" in the 13.6% increase in 1 GbE port shipments. Revenue from 10 GbE switches increased 4.3% over the previous year, reaching $2.24 billion, while port shipments grew by 53.1%, totaling 13.8 million ports shipped in the second quarter.

Geographically, much of the Ethernet switch market growth concentrated in the Middle East and Africa, which, along with East Asia, saw a 16.8% uptick in switch sales. Europe and South America also saw rapid growth, while U.S. sales grew 5%. Japanese switch revenues remained stagnant. 

"Application explosion associated with digital transformation and continued proliferation of cloud buildouts underpinned a strong market performance in [the second quarter of 2017]," said Rohit Mehra, IDC's vice president for network infrastructure, in a statement. "Solid growth should continue throughout 2017, even as Ethernet switching and routing purchase behavior trends may take some turns."

Among vendors, Cisco's Ethernet switch market share dropped from 55.1% to 54.7% in the second quarter. And for enterprise routing, it dropped from 43.9% to 41.2%. Arista Networks, Juniper Networks and Huawei performed well, with Juniper experiencing a 33.2% growth in the second quarter. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) saw a slight decrease in switch revenue, but lost market share, IDC said.

Extreme moves up Brocade IP data unit purchase

Extreme Networks moved up its planned acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems' data center business, saying it will now complete the $55 million transaction within 30 days.

Extreme originally said it expected to close the deal later this this fall in conjunction with Broadcom Ltd.'s $5.5 billion purchase of Brocade. But a probe by U.S. regulators has delayed that acquisition over concerns about Broadcom's role as a major supplier of switch silicon. Broadcom and Brocade this week agreed to extend their deadline to complete that transaction.

As part of the deal, Extreme will get Brocade's line of SLX and VDX switches, SLX and MLX routers and operating system software. Extreme said it expects the transaction will generate $230 million in annualized revenue. 

In addition to buying Brocade's IP networking business, Extreme acquired Avaya's networking business for $100 million earlier this year.

Purdue University deploys HPE Aruba infrastructure for digital agriculture

Purdue University's College of Agriculture rolled out a wireless and edge computing network anchored by Aruba and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to capture data about plant growth and food production operations.

The vendors installed a network comprised of Aruba 270 outdoor access points, Aruba 7000 controllers and an HPE Edgeline IoT system across the university's 1,408-acre Agronomy Center for Research and Education, or ACRE, farm in north-central Indiana. The network captures and returns terabytes of data from sensors, cameras and data input by humans. The aggregated data is then fed back to an HPE supercomputer for processing.

As part of the project, Aruba deployed solar-powered mobile Wi-Fi hot spots, which allow researchers to enter data in the field and transmit it to a chosen application back in the data center. A weather tower provides connectivity to plant-based sensors measuring plant growth.

Data is also transmitted over the Wi-Fi network from a semi-autonomous vehicle and sensor platform, dubbed PhenoRover, which also gathers data from crops.

Gartner tracks changes afoot for CIOs

The end of 2017 through 2018 will mark a turning point for CIOs, as the rapid growth of digital business changes the nature of the CIO's role. According to a survey Gartner published in conjunction with its ITxpo in Orlando, Fla., CIOs must shift away from serving as IT delivery executives and become business executives.

They must also move away from traditional functions, such as controlling costs and overseeing engineering, as they align more closely with overall business objectives. Up to 95% of CIOs think their job will change as a result of digitalization, the survey said.

CIOs ranked artificial intelligence, internet of things and cybersecurity as the greatest technological challenges, with execs expressing particular concern about finding enough employees with AI experience to meet business goals.

"The CIO's role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptive technologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach the masses," said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "While delivery is still a part of the job, much greater emphasis is being placed on attaining a far broader set of business objectives," he added.

Other results from the study, which tracked the responses from 3,160 CIOs across 98 countries and all major industries, included the following:

  • More than a quarter of CIOs said growth is their biggest priority in 2018.
  • CIOs said they're spending more time on the business executive elements of their jobs than they did three years ago.
  • Seventy-nine percent said digitalization is making their IT organizations more "change-ready."

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