Networking

Interop '07: Tech guerrilla Samsung jumps into enterprise networking with 'one-box solution'


Global electronics giant Samsung is branching out from its traditional strength in manufacturing consumer devices such as TVs, LCDs, and mobile phones and making a leap into the enterprise networking appliance market with a line of "Ubigate" appliances that are meant to provide an all-in-one solution for security, routing and switching, VoIP, VPN, and more.

Samsun Ubigate

Samsung kicked off the first full day of Interop Las Vegas 2007 with an 8:00 AM (Pacific) press conference, announcing that it was making a major entrance into the networking space in the U.S. market. It has already made big strides with its networking gear in Asia.

Ironically, the Samsung press conference was in a tiny room just across from the big keynote hall where the John Chambers, CEO of networking king Cisco Systems, was preparing for his 9:00 AM keynote presentation to open the conference.

"We believe that our experience in consumer electronics and systems will work very nicely," said Young-soo Ryu, Samsung's Senior Vice President of Enterprise Network Business. Ryu is also a network industry veteran from Cisco Systems and Nortel.

Ryu sees a huge opportunity in convergence of voice and data networks. "We believe that convergence is happening at the network and the device level… Our enterprise product can tie these things together."

The Ubigate solutions are aimed at small and medium businesses with 50-300 users, with the option to extend up to 500. Samsung has put an onslaught of features into these boxes, including hot-swap components, VPN, VoIP, URL filtering, antivirus, and simplified management (Web-based console, configuration wizard, and configuration rollback). They are obviously coming into the U.S. market with the ambition to take a big chunk of market share and the intention of become a key player.

"Samsung is a long distance runner," said Ryu.

I should also note that just after Samsung talked about new networking hardware, John Chambers hardly mentioned hardware at all during his keynote, but instead he spoke passionately about the next great wave of productivity gains that will be driven by collaboration and Web 2.0 mashups running on a ubiquitous network and powered by the broad range of solutions that Cisco has been building over the past decade. More on that later.

What do you think about Samsung jumping into the networking market? Do the Ubigate boxes look interesting enough for you to want more information? Should Samsung stick to TVs and phones? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

6 comments
jasonhiner
jasonhiner

At Interop Las Vegas 2007, Samsung announced that it is jumping into the U.S. market for networking gear and appliances with new "Ubigate" all-in-one boxes, as I wrote here: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=480 Can Samsung grab market share in this crowded field? Do the Ubigate solutions look interesting enough for you to consider on your network? Should Samsung stick to TVs and phones?

marketingtutor.
marketingtutor.

Well its my opinion that, historically speaking, converged devices are almost always a hit or miss. Unfortunately as more an more players enter this market, the greater the cry is for a unification of standards. When I say hit or miss, I mean that converged devices almost always end up in the proverbial "Jack of all trades, master of none" category, and while they do offer value, they almost never achieve any sincere, long lasting penetration into a market that is already flooded with superior individual solutions. There doesn't seem to be a lack of marketing personalities queuing up create the next great "has been" mega device. I can't really speak towards Samsung's Ubigate products, but only about previous attempts to enter the ever elusive all-in-one device field. Its the nature of the All-in-One beast that almost always fall short and leaves out a feature that some short-sighted engineer in a dark lab somewhere just thought wouldn't matter. Of course its always that one feature that drives away a potential customer, driving them back into the individual device category, with a VAR building the converged system from separate superior products. Samsung makes great products, but I still have yet to see any all-in-one converged devices that hit any real fame. Again, I'm not saying it can't be profitable, but maybe I'm just setting the bar to high, to the "mass-market next great thing" level. I would love to see a converged device that really nails it, and does everything perfectly. It sure would make the VAR's job a lot easier, albeit a lot less profitable :-) Go Samsung!

JoeBeckner
JoeBeckner

You are right about multifunction devices ending up in the "Jack of All Trades Master of None" I have a Samsung TV/VCR combination that had to go back twice for warranty repair on the VCR. I have a printer/scanner/copier that doesn't do a very good job in any of its functions. Samsung should stick to their core consumer electronics business like televisions and MP3 players. Cisco isn't going to start making televisions any time soon.

Aragorn
Aragorn

I have a Brother MCF 8840DN. Not only is a great laser printer but it is also a great scanner and copier. It faxes as well as any other (including storing faxes in memory if it is out of paper or toner). On top of it all it does all its tricks over the network and rarely jams or misses a beat. Multi function devices can be great but there are a lot that aren't. This will really depend on Samsungs execution.

pmwpaul
pmwpaul

It depends mostly on the value of internet access to the company. If the company is doing mainly e-commerce, this is NOT the way to go. A small company (

marketingtutor.
marketingtutor.

Yeah, wouldn't that be nice to see Cisco jump into the TV market. Your post brings up another good and valid point I have noticed about All-In-One devices. Well, two points actually, maybe three. First thing, it always ends up that one of the devices in this all-in-one thingie dies, and now you have, for example, just a TV, not a TV with a DVD player built in...just a dysfunctional TV. Second thing, upgradability...Rarely do all fields of technology increase at the same rate, so now you can't just replace the one or two devices of this 5-in-1 device. Well, you can, but what an irritant! Third thing, all-in-ones have a single point of failure. Imagine having all server types packed into one box, now you have a single point of failure for everything, instead of having the DB,WWW, and Mail servers in one box, they're safer, and more secure being seperate. Also, someone DDOSing your WWW server now takes out your VoIP, Mail, and Database in one fell swoop. This is all in addition to the massive security risks of keeping everything in one location. Though in defense of all-in-ones, it certainly makes integration tighter and management much easier. Again, I can't say that what I'm saying covers the Samsung boxes, but this certainly has to make you think twice about going for an converged solution like this. One would assume companies in the 50-300 employee market would invest in a more sophisticated/powerful solution than a "one size fits all" unified/converged box. But then this will likely be pitched at the CFO, and not the CIO.

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