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Is HP Now a Friend or Foe of Cisco?

While I’ve seen a lot of kudos of our innovative Unified Computing System announcement in the last two weeks, I have been concerned by some of the “Cisco declaration of war” theme coverage. As someone here at Cisco, who has successfully worked with HP, this information seemed in accurate. So let’s set the record straight.

First of all, Cisco entry in the adjacent server market space with Unified Computing System is not about going after the competition. It is about catching a market transition or inflection point to help our customers unleash the power of virtualization in their data centers. The Unified Computing System addresses many of the pain points our customers have in managing and unleashing benefits of virtualization in their data centers.

Secondly, HP entered Cisco core switching business several years back with its ProCurve product line. Cisco and HP successfully continued their partnership in other areas in the interest of our mutual customers.

That said, what does the UCS announcement mean to Cisco-HP partnership? This brings us back to the title of my post. Well, in the interest of our customers, it is not going to be a friend or foe scenario in general. The reality is we will compete with HP with our Unified Computing System, however, other existing areas of collaboration with HP will continue.In particular, Cisco and HP together have had an extremely successful partnership providing Cisco Catalyst and MDS branded Ethernet and Fibre channel blades switches as IO solutions for the HP blade servers. Cisco commitments continue to be unchanged in delivering sales or support of our industry leading & comprehensive IO solutions for our partner blade servers to meet the needs of our customers. .So while we will compete with HP in certain areas, our customers can count on Cisco to still collaborate with HP in many other areas, such as Cisco blade switches to meet their needs. What kinds of concerns do you have about Cisco and HP collaboration?

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6 Comments.


  1. Hi Kash,Nice post. Personally, as someone who has worked with both technologies and confident about Cisco ( and HP) inspite of occassional dissappointment in certain product lines, I agree with you that all this Cisco-HP-IBM rivalry is mostly media hype. And as a user of technology, I strongly believe that healthy competition between vendors can only make our services better. However, you DO say at the beginning: Cisco entry in the adjacent server market space with Unified Computing System is not about going after the competition.”" And THEN you state: “”The reality is we will compete with HP with our Unified Computing System,..”". Sounds a little contradictory, would you not say ? :-)Cheerssantanu”

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  2. Kash Shaikh

    Santanu,Glad you liked my post & I agree wholeheartedly that healthy competition is good for our customers. Now about the contradiction, it may appear as contradictory on the surface but the point here is that some of the media coverage, as you correctly pointed out, made it sound as if our main intent with UCS announcement & entry in to adjacent market space is to go after competition or declare a war so to speak, clearly this is not the case. The intent here is to provide customers with more choices with an innovative solution to address their pain points in data centers. Now does that mean we will not compete with HP (and others) in order to provide more choices in that particular space? without mincing words, the reality is we will increasingly compete with HP, however, at the same time we will continue to partner with HP in some other areas to address the needs of our mutual customers.Regards,-Kash

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  3. Thanks Kash.I think your point was clear enough in your first post. Personally, IMHO, Cisco does tend to invoke a semi-intimidating effect among its Competitors/Partners sometimes. Their history of dynamic success in almost every space they have invaded speaks for itself. Hence, I shall not be surprised if even while displaying a spirit of healthy partnership on the surface, some of Cisco’s partners/competitors”" do take this as an ominous sign of being gobbled up ….same as a shoal of sardines would in presence of a friendly killer whale…not that i am comparing HP/IBM with sardines or Cisco with Orca :-)Cheerssantanu”

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  4. I expect a transition period during which more customers wil begin to look to Cisco to serve as the prime”" for their data center projects. We’ll certainly lead with Cisco DC 3.0 offerings, but will also orchestrate comprehensive DC proposals to include products from our strategic partners like HP and IBM.”

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  5. Omar Sultan

    Kash:Good points. I think when companies get more obsessed with their competition than their customers, they run into trouble. However, I firmly believe Cisco, HP, and IBM have sufficiently customer-centric cultures for this to not be a problem. Sure, the industry is evolving which will create churn, but but I think each company will adapt and continue to find ways to grow, as they have done in the past.OmarCisco

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  6. Nice post.

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