$3 Billion dollars is a lot of money, but I can’t think of a company more worth it. Foundry makes amazing Ethernet switches. Brocade makes good Fibre Channel switches and SAN products. Foundry routers are not a shabby lot either. It will be interesting to see whether Brocade uses this to go head to head against Cisco. Juniper has been trying to go head-to-head with Cisco for awhile. Now, with a new Brocade + Foundry and Juniper, Cisco will need to stay sharp or see serious parts of its business get eroded away.
No one ever got fired for buying Cisco. But, I recently saw a shop where they went from Cisco to Enterasys (thanks for showing off your backbone Todd). I must say that I really liked the Enterasys switches. I looked them up and they are about 1/2 the cost of Cisco. They have great tech support and are very easy to configure, even though it’s a command line interface. The only complaint I have about them is the web interface is good for reviewing your setup but inadequate for configuration – but is good for looking at the switch configs. Maybe in time this will mature… I don’t know if they can go to the 10,000+ environments though… Oh, and it required zero config to do link aggregation, which was weird – but cool… Now, I have really been liking what Foundry is doing with their switches. And Juniper. If you play your cards right you can even get free training with Juniper, which is pretty cool – and sometimes they give hard core sweetheart deals to larger shops that are switching over to their platform from Cisco. Of course there are hundreds of other switch manufacturers. The only other ones I’ve seen in really large install bases are HP (which I hear mixed reviews on from Mac guys) and Extreme Networks (again mixed reviews for Mac) and some Allied Telesys Switch Blades (great review but only seen them once – 4000 series blades – with fiber to ring and ethernet to classrooms in the same chassis – it stuck out to me ’cause we used to sell a lot of allied switches and I didn’t know they made blades yet).