HP's global partner boss believes the vendor can reap big success in the networking and converged infrastructure worlds as Cisco starts to see its market strongholds "crumbling before our eyes".
A couple of years ago HP seemed to be in the habit of making a big noise about its networking business, often taking aim at market leader Cisco. Sue Barsamian, senior vice president of worldwide sales for HP's Enterprise Group, stressed that the company is still dedicated to the market, stating that "we are 150 per cent in networking".
She admitted that HP is now "not necessarily playing the game we thought we needed to play". But the dawn of emerging technologies in the network world – software-defined networking (SDN) chief among them – is a major disruption which will shake up the market dynamics, particularly at the top end of the market, she believes.
"In the datacentre, Cisco has been historically very formidable, with very large, high-end, proprietary service provider [projects]," she noted. "That really was a Cisco footprint that proved to be very hard to penetrate. But one could argue [that dominance] is crumbling before our very eyes."
Barsamian claimed the move towards SDN offers HP the chance to make a big impact in the networking space, without simply having to scrap for market share on Cisco's traditional stomping ground.
"We thought we needed to carve out our footprint in the traditional [campus] environment. But that environment is changing, we can see that in Cisco's results, and in their margin pressures," she said.
"Software-defined networking and virtualised networking is happening at a very rapid pace, which plays into a different approach to networking. We are not just trying to carve out a footprint against Cisco, we are trying to really disrupt the market."
To date, the converged systems space – covering bundled offerings of servers, storage, and networking – has also been dominated by Cisco-based technologies. The network goliath's VCE alliance with VMware and EMC and its FlexPod tie-up with NetApp respectively held 24.3 and 22.5 per cent of the global market in Q2, recent IDC figures revealed.
EMC – on 17.7 per cent – holds third spot, with HP somewhere among the best of the rest, who cumulatively hold 35.5 per cent of the market. But HP does hold third spot across the EMEA region where its 18.9 per cent share is very close behind the VCE (20.8 per cent) and FlexPod (20.5 per cent).
Barsamian (pictured right) asserted that the vendor has big plans for the converged infrastructure arena, and has identified a number of areas in which it believes it has the edge.
"We are extremely strong in workload-optimised, or application-centric converged infrastructure," she said. "We have software offerings for SAP Hana, we have HDI (hosted desktop infrastructure) converged systems with Citrix for virtualised desktop environments. You can have all the component parts from HP, but still be committed to an open standards environment."
Furthermore, the HP enterprise channel chief believes the Cisco-based unions are beginning to show occasional signs of strain.
"We are definitely seeing some cracks in the armour of the VCE consortium, with the Cisco and NetApp [alliance] saying they will not support VMware," she explained. "We see multiple combinations and permutations of arguments forming in the VCE environment. It is probably not surprising, given the vendor dynamics."
Look out in an upcoming issue of CRN for a full write-up of our interview with Barsamian.
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