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The networking market showed continued signs of recovery early in 2010 with revenue in both the routing and switching markets pushing into double-digits, according to IDC figures. As the market heated up, so too did competition as big vendors acquired smaller vendors to fill technology gaps, giants of the industry threw down the gauntlet against their largest competitors, and new platforms were announced and released. Channel Insider presents a review of some of the major headlines in the computer networking space in 2010.

Cisco and HP part ways

Long-time networking competitors Cisco Systems and HP partnered in the data center realm, but as competition increased, eventually it was time to part ways. With HP moving its six data centers off of Cisco routers and switches, HP’s acquisition of 3Com to do battle against Cisco in the channel, duelling partner conferences in the spring and alliances formed in the war over unified communications, it’s been a year of two networking giants clashing.

Avaya integrates Nortel channel
Following Avaya’s acquisition Nortel Enterprise Solutions in December 2009, Avaya spent the next several months merging the two companies’ product lines and channel partner program. As Carol Neslund, Avaya’s channel chief, told Channel Insider in April, the two companies had very little overlap in channel partners and Avaya was ahead of schedule in the integration.

Brocade and Juniper unveil new network architectures
Although HP and Cisco made the biggest splash in networking news in 2010 with their public rivalry, both Brocade and Juniper pushed new networking architectures out the door as the bigger kids got into a brawl. The Brocade Unified Network Architecture is based on the concept that IT infrastructures are evolving into highly virtualized architectures with services on demand enabled by the cloud. The New Network from Juniper is a disruption of the conventional three-tier network design in favor of constructing a flat platform network designed to make networks more scalable, cost-effective and efficient.

Cisco enables social networking for the enterprise
Social networking isn’t just for sharing photos and stalking high school crushes any more. Cisco introduced Quad, its enterprise social networking platform, this year Quad brings the tools of social networks like Facebook and MySpace to the business realm. It ties social networking communications tools into a business-centric platform to give employees a productivity boost.

IBM boosts virtualization play with Blade Network Technologies acquisition
Big Blue had an eye on building its virtualization and cloud business when it signed an agreement to acquire Blade Network Technologies in September. Blade, a provider of blade server and top-of-rack switches (as well as software that virtualizes and manages cloud computing), had been an IBM partner since 2002, and more than 50 percent of System x BladeCenters either attached to or used Blade technology at the time of the acquisition announcement.