RIP Nortel

[UPDATE: Avaya did indeed win the auction, for nearly twice their stalking-horse price. We’ll see how that plays out.]

This Friday, Nortel’s enterprise products division will be auctioned. Avaya is the stalking-horse, with numerous other companies additionally submitting bids. If history holds, Nortel Enterprise will not be Avaya’s, but belong to someone else (despite all the buzz Avaya and its partners are making). Regardless, that someone will acquire the best enterprising data switching platforms made.

Hands-down, the ERS 5000 -series has continued to be the best integrated UTP switch, since coming onto the scene many years ago. Beefy backplane, generous uplinks, flexible stacking, decent price-point. I’ve baked switches from every vendor willing to send me gear, and no one can handle the battery like an ERS 5000.

The ERS 8600 chassis-based platforms also make a mockery of the competition. Robust, redundant backplanes; extremely flexible slotting options; ridiculous feature set; decent price-point. Better marketing could have really pumped this line, as a number of the slot options were best-of-breed. Again, I’ve baked a number of chassis, and the 8600-series delights on most all of the benchmarks that matter.

There are lots of other diamonds in the enterprise space. Quite a lot. I’m not a “loyal” customer of anyone: I believe in market Darwinism. Unfortunately in this case, the best products were latched onto a fiscally irresponsible company, led by brain-dead opportunists who from the outset have undermined the legacy that is … was … Nortel.

I look forward to Friday – to see who’s getting the chance to own the best-of-breed enterprise networking products, and hope when they sit down and take a good look, they realize what an amazing set of assets they have, and Do The Right Thing with them.

Regardless, Nortel is a less-than-skeletal image of its former self, and a venerable multi-century legacy is all but a footnote.

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