Key Criteria for Evaluating Data Center Switchingv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Data Center Switching Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Andrew Green

1. Summary

The market for data center switching has changed dramatically over the last decade due to the consolidation of data center operations into a smaller set of service providers. In the 2010s, most large and even mid-sized enterprises had to handle their workloads on-premises or in their own data centers. In the 2020s, however, these workloads are all being migrated to data centers hosted by third-party providers or developed with a cloud-first strategy. Complex enterprise applications are migrated typically to either colocation facilities or private cloud providers, whereas new applications with scalability requirements are built directly using public cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, or GCP.

With fewer and fewer workloads on-premises or in proprietary data centers, the pool of those using data center (DC) switches is shrinking. However, this reduced customer base has much greater and more complex requirements.

At the moment, we expect the demand for DC switches to be highest among third-party infrastructure operators, namely cloud providers. However, DC switches will still be important in industries that will not outsource all of their infrastructure, such as telecommunications providers, content providers, gaming companies, financial services providers, healthcare conglomerates, and the public sector.

To respond to this need, data center switches are evolving to enhance their capabilities around two main themes: core switching performance with respect to throughput and density, and networking complexity that we expect will drive most advancements. This evolution includes the deployment and management of switches using modern techniques targeted toward application performance.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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