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January 27, 2009

HP throws down the gauntlet to Cisco

Last week Cisco came out with news that put HP, Dell and IBM square in their sites. They announced that they were coming to market with a line of data center servers that would leverage virtualization technology.  The aim was to make Cisco a player in the large, lucrative server market.  Well HP wasted little time in firing back.  Today they announced a new line of data center switches and a full partner ecosystem to extend the HP data center functionality.

To be clear this announcement was powered by the folks at HP ProCurve which recently has started getting its fair share of attention from HP itself, as well as the rest of the world. But when even the Wall Street Journal picks it up, you have to say that HP is not making any bones about their desire to go after Cisco. There is no lack of companies that are willing to join up with HP to take a bite out of Cisco either.  They will introduce more partners I am sure very soon.

HP certainly has the muscle to take on Cisco, however I think how successful they will be remains to be seen.  This attack to be successful has to be one for the long haul.  There will be no quick victory to knock Cisco off the perch.  Also, ProCurve has built up a great channel over the years.  But can these channel partners sell to the data center market instead of the market they sell to today?  Can they sell the ancillary lines to pure switching and routing, like acceleration, security, etc.?  Good questions that need answers before anyone can talk about knocking Cisco down as king of the mountain.

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