- Best for Enterprises: Hewlett Packard Enterprise / Aruba Networks
- Best for Cloud Solutions: Arista Networks
- Best for Growing Companies: Cisco
- Best for Mobility: Cumulus Networks
- Best for Popularity: Dell Technologies
- Best for Scalability: Extreme Networks
- Best for SDN: Juniper Networks
- Best for Visibility: NETSCOUT
- Best for Performance Management: Riverbed Technologies
- Best for Versatility: VMware
- How to Choose an Enterprise Networking Solution
- Bottom Line: Top Enterprise Networking Companies
Best for Enterprises: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (Aruba Networks)
HPE-Aruba consistently ranks at the top of the enterprise networking solutions space and is known for its focus on unified networks. Aruba delivers SDN to scale along with an end-to-end interface. It offers zero-touch provisioning and end-to-end orchestration within a single pane of glass. It handles automated policy enforcement for the user, device, and app in both wired and wireless networking.
The platform also supports a high level of programmability through Python scripting and APIs, and a variety of cloud-based solutions designed to streamline IT operations and boost performance in SD-WANs. Users rank the company high for user experience, reconfigurability, and cybersecurity.
Aruba recently acquired Silver Peak Systems, a leader in the SD-WAN space. The platform unifies SD-WAN, firewall, segmentation, routing, WAN optimization, and more—with advanced orchestration and automated lifecycle management, self-learning capabilities through machine learning, and more.
- Automated security: HPE’s networking portfolio eliminates inconsistent policies and keeps all security information safe while pushing policies to the entire organization.
- Efficient network operations: The enterprise networking tools streamline analysis and identify vulnerabilities quickly for onboarding and configuration and enables segmentation for remote work, office connections, and the internet of things (IoT).
- Network Visibility: HPE Aruba has a singular source to monitor data for infrastructure with any sized business. It allows the business to have alerts, performance, and client data flow.
- Integration: The HPE Aruba enterprise networking tool has difficulty integrating with some systems’ technology.
For pricing, go to the Hewlett Packard Enterprise shop page.
To learn more about HPE perspective: Q&A on Networking With Scott Calzia at Aruba
Best for Cloud Solutions: Arista Networks
Arista Networks promotes the concept of “cognitive networking” and clouds through SDN. It supports unified edge systems across networks through a portfolio of products.
The vendor offers a variety of products and solutions designed for enterprise networking. Its Cognitive Campus solution optimizes cloud solutions, specifically for performance, using an analytics-driven approach that focuses heavily on cybersecurity, visibility, and location-based services.
The software-driven approach aims to reduce networking complexity, improve reliability and performance, and boost network monitoring and security functions. The vendor’s Cognitive Management Plane incorporates artificial intelligence and a repository to automate numerous actions.
- Single operating system: Arista Networks’ networking solution operates a system functioning across the entire infrastructure to reduce fear of backward capabilities.
- Helpful configuration: Arista Networks customers promote better configuration than most networking software, making it easy, clear, and easy to understand.
- Easy to manage: The way Arista Networks’ networking solution is laid out makes managing the platform simple compared to other platforms.
- Expensive: Compared to other enterprise networking platforms, Arista Networks’ solution can be pricey for some customers.
For pricing, reach out to Arista Networks’ Contact Sales page.
For more on Arista Networks: Arista: Networking Portfolio Review
Best for Growing Companies: Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems is an undisputed leader in networking, and key expertise and products for almost every possible organization and business need, from carrier-grade equipment to enterprise data center solutions.
Cisco Digital Network Architecture is at the heart of the company’s offerings. Cisco DNA relies on a software-delivered approach to automate systems and assure services within a campus and across branch networks and WANs.
It is designed to work across multi-cloud environments, with AI/ML tools to automate, analyze, and optimize performance and thwart security threats. Key components include automated workflows, analytics, behavioral tools, SD-WAN, and other software-defined offerings designed for both Ethernet and wireless.
In addition, the company receives high marks for its switches, routers, hardware and software, SD-WAN products, and enterprise network security tools.
- Capability to scale: If a company is growing, the Cisco Systems’ networking platform offers the capability to scale for any size business.
- Great management: Multiple customers address the networking platform’s ability to manage their data and infrastructure without much human help.
- Visibility: Cisco has a visibility page where a customer can see every part of their infrastructure in a dashboard.
- Licensing expensive: For smaller companies, the licensing cost can be very expensive.
Pricing for the Cisco Systems’ networking package is listed here or customers can reach out by contacting sales.
For more information: Cisco Report Shows Cybersecurity Resilience as Top of Mind
Best for Mobility: NVIDIA’s Cumulus Networks
Cumulus Networks, now part of NVIDIA, delivers real-time visibility, troubleshooting, and lifecycle management functions as part of its Cumulus NetQ solution.
Cumulus promotes a “holistic” approach to networking. With roots in the Linux world, it delivers automated solutions without specialized hardware. Forrester describes the approach as an “app-dev perspective.”
Cumulus includes a robust set of tools and controls that tackle advanced telemetry, deep analytics, and lifecycle management. For example, NetQ uses specialized agents to collect telemetry information across an entire network and provide real-time insight, including state changes for data centers.
Diagnostics tools allow administrators to trace network paths, replay network states at a specific time point in the past, and review fabric-wide event change logs. The platform supports rich scripting and configuration tools.
- Open networking: Cumulus uses an open network, which has open standards and separated networking hardware devices from software code.
- Easy to learn: Networking tools can be difficult to learn and adjust with current systems, but customers say the platform is easy to learn.
- Training time lower: Training on new tech can take hours or days to master. Cumulus saves companies time and money by making the process quicker.
- Need license: Where some networking platforms do not require licensing, Cumulus requires it, raising the price for smaller companies.
For pricing, go to NVIDIA’s Shop Networking Products page.
For more on networking: 5 Top Cloud Networking Trends
Best for Popularity: Dell Technologies
Dell Technologies offers a robust and highly-rated portfolio of enterprise solutions. The company offers a wide array of products and solutions for enterprise networks, including Ethernet switches, wireless gear, smart fabric management software, services for automated fabric management, network operating systems, and various products and tools that facilitate SDN.
Dell Technologies also focuses on maximizing connectivity at the edge with cloud integration: integrated hardware and software solutions for SD-WAN and clouds. This enables autonomous fabric deployment, expansion, and lifecycle management for software-defined infrastructures.
The company aims to “meet the demands of modern workloads and virtualization environments while greatly simplifying deployments and management” through a single pane of glass.
- Automation saves time: Tasks done by automation are praised for the time and money that is saved using Dell’s networking services.
- Helpful backups: When Dell Technologies backup customer data, they feel secure and protected.
- Support helpful: The customer support Dell provides is helpful and knowledgeable on how to fix errors through different parts of the network.
- Runs on Java: Dell’s enterprise networking services require a company to use Java, and customers say that occasionally clearing Java cache takes up time.
To see pricing on networking tools, go to the Dell Technologies Shop.
For more: Dell Technologies: Networking Portfolio Review
Best for Scalability: Extreme Networks
Extreme Networks offers switching, routing, analytics, security, and other management solutions. The Extreme Networks product line is defined by Extreme Cloud IQ, a platform that automates end-to-end, edge-to-data-center network operations through the use of AI and machine learning. It is designed to scale to more than 10,000 managed devices per wireless appliance and includes comparative analytics and ML-driven scorecards.
Extreme Management Center provides on-premises network management in a variety of networking environments. In the realm of unified communications, Extreme Campus Controller delivers wired and wireless orchestration for campus and IoT networks.
- Faster deployment: Some networking tools take time to deploy, and Extreme Networks has a positive reputation for their deployment.
- Reliability: After a business installs the tools, they do the work and do not require supervision.
- Easy to manage: Customers say that all of the data is in one place for the tech and business to manage their systems.
- Cost: While cost is better than most networking tools, the cost is high for small to mid-sized businesses.
For pricing, go to Extreme Networks’ How to Buy page.
For more information: Extreme Networks: Networking Portfolio Review
Best for SDN: Juniper Networks
Juniper Networks has established itself as an innovator and leader in the enterprise networking space. Juniper Networks places a heavy emphasis on smart automation within a single, consistent operating system. It receives high marks for manageability and simplicity.
Juniper offers a wide array of enterprise networking solutions designed for nearly any requirement. This includes equipment for switching, routing, wireless, packet optical, SDN, and network security. These solutions address enterprise requirements for enterprise WAN, campus networking, cloud-native, multi-cloud, 5G, and IoT/IoT devices. The vendor’s Contrail Networking solution is entirely focused on SDN.
- Traffic management: Traffic is managed within the system to avoid data going into the wrong places and keeping the company secure.
- Ease of use: Juniper Networks’ networking portfolio is easy to use for businesses that work with their portfolio.
- Automates security: Juniper Networks keeps customers’ security tools automated at all times.
- Expensive: The portfolio is expensive in comparison to other enterprise networking companies.
For pricing, go to Juniper Networks contact sales.
For more information: Juniper Networks: Networking Portfolio Review
Best for Visibility: NETSCOUT
NETSCOUT offers a full spectrum of products and solutions designed to support digital transformation, managed services, and digital security.
NETSCOUT prides itself on delivering complete visibility within networks and clouds, as well as real-time actionable intelligence using machine learning and smart analytics. These tools help organizations gain deeper visibility into data centers, cloud frameworks, performance issues, and security risks.
One of the vendor’s strengths is its technology partners, which include AWS, VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco Systems. NETSCOUT supports numerous vertical industries, including healthcare, retail, transportation, financial services, and government.
- User-friendly dashboard: NETSCOUT’s networking portfolio offers a user-friendly dashboard that gives visibility to the customer’s company.
- Troubleshooting: NETSCOUT keeps cybersecurity risks at ease by troubleshooting the tools NETSCOUT offers.
- Capture: The tools help companies by capturing packet history and current movement.
- Requires training: Unlike many other tools, NETSCOUT’s portfolio software needs training to be able to use the system.
For pricing, follow the product tab and choose the product you want, then click the Try a Demo page.
For more information about networking: 10 Top Companies Hiring for Networking Jobs
Best for Performance Management: Riverbed Technology
Riverbed Technology focuses on four key factors: performance, applications, visibility, and networks. It achieves results through WAN optimization, application acceleration, software-defined WAN, and network performance management modules. The Riverbed Network and Application Performance Platform are designed to “visualize, optimize, accelerate, and remediate the performance of any network for any application.”
The open platform effectively ties together performance management, WAN optimization, application acceleration, and SD-WAN solutions. Another Riverbed product, Steelhead, delivers a technology foundation for maximizing and optimizing the efficiency and performance of networks, including SaaS products. The focus is on network performance and efficiency through information streamlining, transport streamlining, application streamlining, and elastic performance.
- Easy deployment: Deploying Riverbed Technology’s networking portfolio is easy for customers.
- Traffic insights: The tools give visibility to customers who want to see their traffic insights.
- Long-distance success: With remote work becoming more popular, Riverbed Technology can travel to whoever needs access in the company.
- No public cloud integration: Riverbed Technology cannot be integrated into the public cloud, which is a large part of data storage.
For pricing, go to Riverbed Technology’s Free Trial Options.
Best for Versatility: VMware
VMware was a pioneer in virtualization products and solutions. Over two decades, it has distinguished itself as an industry leader with its focus on supporting multi-cloud environments, virtual cloud networking, and solutions designed to support digital business.
The company offers a network solution for several industry verticals, including retail, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, education, and government. It has numerous partnerships that make it an attractive choice for enterprises. A core tenant for VMware is building a digital foundation.
VMware Tanzu offers products and services designed to modernize application and network infrastructure. This includes building cloud applications, advancing existing apps, and running and managing Kubernetes in Multiple Clouds. VMware’s Virtual Cloud Network provides a seamless, secure, software-defined networking layer across networking environments. The company’s VMware VRNI, which is designed to troubleshoot network issues and cyber security, is highly rated among reviewers at Gartner Peer Insights.
- Versatile features: VMware’s enterprise networking portfolio offers many features within their portfolio.
- Cost savings: VMware has a cheaper enterprise networking portfolio than a lot of the competition.
- Easy integration: VMware easily integrates with other tools in a company’s infrastructure.
- Difficult setup: Compared to other enterprise networking portfolios, VMware’s networking tools require real expertise to set up.
For pricing, go to VMware’s store page.
For more on VMware: VMware NSX Review
How to Choose an Enterprise Networking Solution
The networking market is incredibly complicated and confusing. Dozens of vendors compete for mind share and market share. Adding to the challenge: every organization has different requirements and each solution approaches the task of networking in different ways. As SDN becomes more popular, this adds to the decision-making process. In some cases, differences among vendors, products, and approaches are subtle—yet exceptionally important. Here are five key things to consider when making a selection:
1. Does The Vendor Support The Flexibility And Agility You Require?
While all vendors promise a high level of flexibility and agility, it’s not so simple to sort everything out. Success depends on your existing infrastructure—including branch offices—and how well the current environment matches the vendor’s solution. This means taking an inventory of your current environment and understanding how the solution will change—and improve—processes. Interoperability, APIs, and support for frameworks like BiDi and SWDM might factor into the situation.
2. Do The Vendor’s Products And Solutions Rank Among The Top?
While high marks from industry analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester are no guarantee of success, they serve as an excellent benchmark for understanding where a vendor resides among its peers, what features stand out, and where a vendor lags behind the pack. Magic Quadrant and Wave report also inject objectivity into what can become a subjective and sometimes emotional process. It’s also wise to read peer reviews at various professional sites and trade information with others in your industry.
3. How Does The Cost Vs. Value Equation Play Out?
The cheapest solution isn’t necessarily the best, of course. Your goal should be to understand switching costs and find the sweet spot on the return on investment (ROI) curve. What tradeoffs are you willing to make to save money? Which features and capabilities are non-negotiable? Which solution can unlock the connectivity you require to be an innovator or disruptor?
4. Is The Vendor A Good Long-Term Partner?
Several factors that can fly below the radar are critical when selecting a vendor. Among them are financial stability, roadmap, and vision, knowledgeability of their engineers and technical staff, and customer support. The latter can be critical. You should have a clear point of contact with the company, and this person should be highly accessible. If you can’t get a strong commitment upfront, this could be a problem. Regardless, it’s wise to lock down key issues and service levels with a service level agreement (SLA).
5. Who And What Do The Vendors Support?
The days of selecting a single vendor for everything are pretty much over. In all likelihood, you will need networking products and solutions that span geographic locations, data centers, clouds, and more. In addition, you will likely have to mix and match some products.
Do the vendor’s offerings play nicely with others? Do they adhere to industry standards? Do they support open source? What kind of service provider are they for wireless network needs, like the management and deployment of mobile devices? What security standards do they adhere to? How well can they work with your existing network if you’re looking to make a shift?
Bottom Line: Top Enterprise Networking Companies
Choosing the enterprise networking solution provider is critical. As SDN becomes a centerpiece of the industry, it’s important to understand how various solutions approach networking, including whether a vendor uses a standard approach or places a hypervisor over a virtual network.
Although all enterprise networking solutions presumably address the same general tasks—centralizing complex management and administrative functions and improving manageability—the way products work varies greatly. This includes various features that vendors offer, how network management tools interact with other IT systems, troubleshooting and security capabilities built into products, and, most importantly, understanding the specific needs of an organization.
Read next: Network Security Market
Enterprise networking companies enable organizations to route, connect, assign and manage resources more dynamically, intelligently, and easily—often through increased automation and AI, and improved monitoring. All of this has led to a more agile, flexible, and cost-effective framework for managing a digital enterprise.
In the era of multicloud computing, enterprise networking companies play a greater role than ever before. As clouds have matured, so has the software-defined data center, and software-defined networking (SDN) has emerged at the center of the industry, though it hasn’t completely replaced legacy frameworks.
Below, Datamation chose 10 of the top vendors in the enterprise networking space along with some of the key features and capabilities they offer.
Also read: The Networking Market
10 Enterprise Networking Leaders in the Market