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Enterasys a growth company

So says CEO Chris Crowell

By , Network World
July 16, 2012 12:09 AM ET
Chris Crowell

Network World - Enterasys has a storied past, springing, as it did, from the loins of Cabletron, the network giant whose revenues once surpassed $1 billion, but then falling into disarray in the early 2000s. Enterasys today is a fast growing private company and part of a joint venture with Siemens Enterprise Communications, giving it added depth and reach. Network World Editor in Chief John Dix recently caught up with company President and CEO Chris Crowell to learn more about what Enterasys is up to and where it fits in.

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You've been involved in this company in many capacities over many years, even heading IT at one point if I read it right.

I've been with Enterasys since 2006, but I started at Cabletron in '92 to work on their management platform. When Cabletron split the company into four parts in 2000, I was running all technical parts of Spectrum -- I was CTO, I was head of IT for Spectrum, everything technical was under me - and Spectrum became Aprisma after the reorganization. As a subsidiary we stayed with Enterasys for two years and then we were sold to The Gores Group, which is a private equity firm, then The Gores Group sold us to Concord Communications, and then Concord Communications was bought by CA. One of my claims to fame is I sold Spectrum/Aprisma three times.

So you came back to Enterasys in 2006, that's after Enterasys merged with Cabletron the holding company and went public in 2001, after all the fraud problems that then ensued, and after The Gores Group reentered the picture and took the company private in 2005.

Right. I joined Enterasys in 2006 after The Gores Group took the company private and brought in a management team to rebuild them. So I joined doing the same thing I was doing at Aprisma, everything technical. I had worked with the new Enterasys CEO in the past and he was all about sales and marketing and didn't want anything to do with the technical stuff. And then about midway through 2008 Gores partnered with Siemens AG to create the joint venture of Siemens Enterprise Communications and Enterasys, Enterasys being the network part of that and Siemens Enterprise Communications being voice and unified communications and video.

We've been operating as a standalone operating entity within the joint venture. The way we go to market with Siemens Enterprise Communications, they are a premier partner and we're a preferred vendor, but both of us have to support infrastructures outside of each other. So I support multiple vendors in voice and video and they support multiple vendors on the data side.

They also have a large service arm, so it is important to their business to be able to support Cisco environments, HP environments, even old Nortel environments. But we go to market together. When we go to market with a complete solution, we do very well. But we also do a lot of business outside of going to market together.

Percentage of sales wise, what does Enterasys represent?

For the total joint venture, about 12% to 15%.

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