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2/23/2010
12:22 PM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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HP Not Rolling Over On Cisco's Severed Ties

Monday's post was not the whole story as regards Hewlett-Packard's response to Cisco's impending termination of the partnership agreement between the two. While the statement HP e-mailed me might create the perception that it's a mature--albeit wilting--flower, shying away from a good fight, a look beneath the sur

Monday's post was not the whole story as regards Hewlett-Packard's response to Cisco's impending termination of the partnership agreement between the two. While the statement HP e-mailed me might create the perception that it's a mature--albeit wilting--flower, shying away from a good fight, a look beneath the surface indicates nothing could be further from the truth.The case in point is the piece, posted on HP's site last July, entitled "The Real Story about Cisco's 'One Giant Switch' view of the data center."

The missive was clearly posted in response to Cisco's then-recent foray into the server space, with its Unified Computing System (UCS). It doesn't mince words:

"In a network centric view of the data center the network admin rules it all. Cisco's so called unified computing requires a change of control where all data center traffic is now piped through the center of the network adding yet another coordination touch point. This scheme requires investing in a very large, complex, and expensive networking system, similar to "one giant switch" in the middle of the data center."

The doc goes on to argue that "Cisco's centralized approach is similar to a legacy mainframe." It then makes the case that HP is better according to a whole bunch of metrics.

The closing zinger argues for HP's home-grown ProCurve switches as the preferred networking solution for customers. The ProCurve argument is centered on its Adaptive Edge Architecture (AEA), where "policy control is managed from the center of the network, while policy enforcement occurs at the edge, at the point where users and devices attach."

HP ProCurve chief technology officer Paul Congdon told me something similar, when I interviewed him last fall for Server Den:

". . .we want to be able to dynamically configure the network. In order to manage millions of servers, I can't have guys going around typing in the command line interface every time a virtual machine needs to migrate somewhere else. So I need more automation in the network edge. This has been ProCurve's adaptive edge architecture for years, but now it's being applied in the data center; it's even more important there."

Moving forward, I think what Cisco's severing of HP's reseller deal (on April 30) may do is goose HP into taking a more vocal branding approach for ProCurve. The latter has always been perceived as a solid, value proposition -- sort of the way Sharp is in televisions. Now, with HP's Technology Solutions Group a little bit freer to extol its internal virtues, we might see ProCurve unleashed.

The next step in my series here is to engage directly with Cisco and I hope to do that soon, hopefully for an upcoming Server Den.

See my two previous posts on this subject:

HP Responds To Cisco Cutoff; and

Cisco Smacks Down HP Partnership.

Follow me on Twitter: (@awolfe58)

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Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.



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