Many industry pundits have missed the proverbial forest for the trees this week. IBM’s recent announcement in which they detail the broadening of their joint Brocade/Foundry GTM strategy has been misinterpreted as an anti-Cisco strategy. In reality, it’s an anti-HP strategy. IBM sees HP turning their “aircraft carrier” to refocus on the Data Center as defined by Cisco’s UCS announcement (e.g. servers, storage and networking). Proof point: The hiring away of David Donatelli from EMC (storage experience with EMC, along with admittedly valuable Cisco-EMC DC “inside baseball” knowledge) to lead their newly defined Data Center business.
IBM needed to counter HP’s Data Center strategy and broader DC portfolio offering and Brocade/Foundry gave them what they needed: An OEM deal through which IBM can now resell its own branded ethernet gear vs. ProCurve in accounts. The Cisco-IBM SAN (MDS 9000 Family of products) relationship remains strong. IBM will now be able to position the Foundry ethernet gear versus HP’s ProCurve products. This will be in addition to the Cisco ethernet gear that IBM and Cisco will continue to jointly market and sell.