Five Steps to Networking Success

The VAR Guy

May 24, 2007

3 Min Read
Five Steps to Networking Success

You can tell a lot from a person’s body language. During a meeting with The VAR Guy yesterday, Nortel executives looked confident and delivered concise information about the company’s five-part networking strategy. What a difference a year makes. First, let’s look at Nortel’s recent moves. Then let’s compare those moves to the Nortel of 2005 or early 2006.

During this week’s Interop conference in Las Vegas, Nortel executives threw around terms like Hyperconnectivity and Business Optimized Networking. Nice and catchy. But what do the flashy terms mean? Thankfully, Nortel executives backed up the marketing terms with some clear definitions.

Aziz Khadbai, Nortel VP and GM of converged data networks, outlined five steps VARs and their customers must take to have Business Optimized Networks. Those networks, he said, will offer Hyperconnectivity–or the type of real-time performance you expect when running local applications directly on your PC.

The five steps for networking success, according to Nortel, include:

  • Converge your core. As enterprise networks converge they are being asked to handle more diverse network traffic with higher reliability and intelligence. Nortel’s Ethernet Routing Switch portfolio enables enterprise LANs to intelligently prioritize real-time business communications like voice, video, and multimedia services, Nortel claims. The VAR Guy’s Reality Check: Hmmm. Those are some lofty claims. But in general, it’s safe to say data prioritization will be a big trend for the rest of 2007.

  • Extend your enterprise. Here, Nortel is using its secure router portfolio to extend “enterprise-qualityâ€? communications tools and applications, like unified communications, to the branch office. The VAR Guy’s Reality Check: There’s nothing worse than a bunch of remote office employees who feel like second-class citizens because of sub-par network and application performance.

  • Mobilize your employees. Nortel’s WLAN portfolio provide a mobile access solution optimized to support the demands of VoIP and real-time multimedia services, Nortel claims. The VAR Guy’s Reality Check: Here, Nortel may have missed an opportunity to describe its MuniWireless strategy, which will allow mobile workers and residents to access public WiFi and WiMAX networks.

  • Accelerate your applications. Nortel claims its Application Accelerator enables businesses to improve the performance of their centralized web-based applications. The VAR Guy’s Reality Check: Application acceleration was one of the most hyped topics at Interop–from start-ups like Exinda to networking giants like Juniper to acceleration leaders like F5 Networks. The noise about application acceleration was overwhelming. Choose your partners wisely.

  • Secure and manage your infrastructure. A truly business optimized network must be secure and easy to manage from end to end, Nortel claims. The VAR Guy’s Reality Check: Who can argue with this one?

Interesting stuff. And each step certainly provides plenty of new sales opportunities to VARs.

The VAR Guy isn’t suggesting that Nortel is ready to topple Cisco Systems. But in the U.S. culture — where journalists often have a “winner take all” mentality — we sometimes forget that multiple networking companies can compete profitably against Cisco.

A year or two ago, Nortel executives had to begin most press meetings by answering — or deflecting — questions about the company’s accounting practices. But Nortel’s current management has cleaned up the company’s books. Nortel’s tone at Interop proved that the company can finally focus on the business at hand.

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