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HP Discounts Switches For Cisco Customers

The Catalyst for Change promotion aims to grab a share of the nearly $9 billion in Cisco networking equipment that HP says is approaching end of service.

Antone Gonsalves

December 20, 2010

2 Min Read

Eight months after completing its acquisition of 3Com, HP is coming out swinging against former 3Com rival Cisco, offering 20% off the list price of HP A-Series and E-Series switches to those companies that trade in Cisco switches.

At stake in the promotion is what HP says is nearly $9 billion in Cisco networking equipment that is approaching end of life or service in 2011. Rather than let Cisco customers upgrade peacefully, HP plans to wage battle.

In a not-so-subtle dig at Cisco, HP is calling the promotion "A Catalyst for Change," because the promotion goes after Cisco's Catalyst line. Specifically, HP is willing to cut the list price of its A-Series and E-Series switches with a trade in of a Cisco Catalyst 2960/S Series, 3560/E Series/X Series, 3750/E Series/X Series, 4500 E Series, 4900 Series, or 6500 Series, as well as Cisco Nexus 5000 Series or 7000 Series switches.

HP announced the promotion Monday and trotted out one of its partners, value-added reseller AdviseX Technologies of Independence, Ohio. Marc Sarazin, executive VP of sales and marketing, said in a joint statement with HP that timing couldn't be better for such a promotion. "Not only is a huge volume of Cisco gear reaching end of life, we saw a lot of customers put off scheduled network upgrades when the economy slowed down, so there's pent up demand there, too," Sarazin sayd.

The relatively quick assault on Cisco comes after HP spent $2.7 billion to acquire 3Com in April. The acquisition made it possible for HP to integrate 3Com's networking switching, routing, and security products into HP's ProCurve networking gear, greatly expanding its overall product portfolio.

Which is not to say that Cisco has been standing still. The company has been going after HP's server customers since 2009, when Cisco launched its Unified Computing System, which combines processing, storage, and networking into one physical unit. Cisco's UCS partners include EMC in storage, VMware for virtualization tools, NetApp for data management, and BMC for system administration and configuration. UCS servers are available as blade or rack systems.

HP, which has its own storage and system management tools, is also pursuing a one-stop shopping approach in offering infrastructure components for the data center.

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