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HP's Donatelli Comes Out Swinging At Cisco

Executive VP's Interop keynote emphasizes new products and open standards.

HP executive VP Dave Donatelli used his Interop keynote address Tuesday morning to do what most up-and-coming networking vendors do: He took a few shots at Cisco.

Donatelli, who oversees HP's server, storage, and networking products, laid out three principles at Interop 2011 in Las Vegas, a UBM TechWeb event, that will guide those efforts: competition, innovation, and ease of management.

The first principle is a swipe at Cisco's networking dominance. "Networking has had the least amount of competition," he said. "Competition speeds innovation and gives customers better service."

As for innovation, Donatelli introduced a series of new HP products, including network core and campus switches, a new intrusion prevention system, and wireless access points.

On the management front, he introduced the Intelligent Management Center (IMC), a platform that monitors and manages physical and virtual devices, including those not made by HP.

Donatelli trumpeted the value of a heterogeneous, multivendor network and said HP's products are built on open standards. "Customers want to prevent lock-in," he said. "Everything is built to open standards, so you can change your network when you want to do it."

He cited a November Gartner report, "Debunking the Myth of the Single-Vendor Network," that touted the total cost savings possible if IT were to buy from multiple vendors rather than one.

He also pointed out that HP's IMC software can control devices from 35 different manufacturers, including Cisco.

That said, there was a clear undercurrent in his keynote that if companies want to build an all-HP network, that would be perfectly fine.

"Our architecture for networking spans the data center, campus, and branch in a coherent way," Donatelli said. "What's different about our architecture is it's designed to common principles, so things look the same and are managed the same."

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