A renewed Netgear takes on Cisco, HP head-on

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A renewed Netgear takes on Cisco, HP head-on

Its latest range of products take it into head-on competition with Cisco, HP, 3Com and Watchguard, said Patrick Lo, co-founder, chairman and CEO, in an interview with CRN in Sydney.

Lo said the move was prompted in part by resellers looking for more opportunities to sell into the heart of the data centre.

"Partners say they need more than switches - they need Wi-Fi, security, storage, WAN optimisation, NOC," said Lo.

"We said let's pick the battles that one, have high demand and two, that we can win."

Lo said resellers would find it easier to win an SME account from established players like Cisco and HP because Netgear "will beat everybody, anytime" on price.

The company's success with unmanaged switches and firewalls at the edge of the network encouraged it to develop layer two and three switches.

Lo said the company moved "into the closet" with these later switches thanks to a web-based GUI that was easier to use compared to the command-line interface standard on HP and Cisco products.

"That turned out to be very successful," said Lo, who added that the company is now targeting the data centre. "We want to move from smart switches to being a full network solutions vendor."

The vendor has upgraded its NAS boxes with iSCSI ports, plans to add unified threat management to its ProSecure security line and has rolled out wireless switches and firewall appliances.

Lo said its ReadyNAS range had taken market share from Dell and HP because compared to NAS, file servers were "expensive, finicky, power hungry and can't scale".

Netgear was also building a recurring revenue model with its security and cloud storage subscription services.

"The bigger the installed base, the bigger the revenue you will have," said Lo, who said the vendor would "never, never go direct".

Lo said half of Netgear's customers had never had NAS or STM products before but were buying them because it was simple and affordable.

"It helps the industry to expand the pie. Our channel partners are very excited because now they have more to sell."

Netgear's second wave would cover the missing elements of its networking assault - IP telephony, video conferencing and IP traffic management - but the vendor was waiting for demand to increase for these products.

Whenever Netgear takes the next step, Australia will be the first market to see it. Australia is Netgear's fastest growing market, and its market share is higher here than in the US because Cisco is relatively less established.

The Asia Pacific region contributes 10 percent to Netgear's revenue, and most of that is Australia, said Lo.

"Here there is no gorilla, so we became the gorilla," said Lo. "Anything new we always bring to Australia," including beta products, he added. 

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