HP has declared war on former bedfellow Cisco, positioning its rival as the only vendor in the networking space with a product portfolio to match its own.
The hardware behemoth said its recently closed buyout of networking vendor 3Com had provided it with a product portfolio that spans from the core to the periphery of the datacentre.
HP said the move also puts it “toe to toe” with Cisco well ahead of the chasing pack.
Darryl Brick, sales manager of HP Networking for the UK and Ireland, said: “Nortel, Brocade and Juniper are all major players, but some of them have glaring holes in their product portfolio.
“The acquisition has helped us put some space between ourselves and the other players and when we look ahead, we see only Cisco.”
The 3Com deal has also boosted HP’s share of the UK networking market from 12 to 15 per cent, to 20 per cent, according to Brick.
“We hope to push that figure north of 25 per cent,” he added.
HP’s challenge comes six months after Cisco announced it was booting HP off its partner programme to stop its rival gaining access to product roadmaps and partner profitability initiatives.
Simon Aron, managing director of joint HP and Cisco partner Eurodata, was not surprised that the conflict is hotting up.
“Cisco has dominated the market for so long,” he said.
“It is good news that HP has decided to step up and give it a run for its money because it means more choice for end users,” he added.
Clive Longbottom, service director at analyst Quocirca, said HP will write off the rest of its competition at its peril.
“If you want a single supplier approach, it comes down to Cisco and HP,” said Longbottom.
“But the vast majority of environments will not be that homogeneous and HP still has some holes [in its portfolio] that need filling by some other vendors.
“Therefore, it will need to cosy up to others in the market to fill those
Steve Garrison, vice president of marketing at HP rival Force 10 Networks, said that despite Cisco and HP positioning themselves as all-in-one datacentre providers, there is still plenty of demand for vendors that specialise in one area.
“The Walmart approach, where you can get everything you need under one roof and from one vendor, is fine,” said Garrison.
“But what end users need to figure out is whether or not the solution on offer caters for each one of their business needs.”
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