HP's datacenters go Cisco free

HP's datacenters go Cisco free

Summary: HP stands by their promise to rid themselves of the shackles of Cisco. But is this anything beyond a marketing statement?


Back in April, HP launched their direct attack on Cisco in the datacenter by making their stated goal to be a Cisco-free world for HP (and by implication, HP's customers). Yesterday they announced that the HP datacenters have successfully made the transition to an all-HP routing and switching infrastructure, removing Cisco components from those roles within their datacenters. All six of HPs core datacenters made the transition over the last six months, without taking any of the datacenters offline for the changeover.

It will be interesting to see how transparent HP will be regarding operational issues in these datacenters now that the infrastructure is running solely on HP product. Far more than just a technology demonstration, these datacenters are running HPs worldwide operations including their Internet service offerings, transaction processing, and of course, the hp.com websites.

While neither HP nor their now integrated 3com acquisitions are new to the datacenter networking market, they have not before been in such an adversarial relationship with Cisco. The "us or them" marketing mentality is much different from the "can't we all get along" approach usually encountered in computer technology marketing at the enterprise level. It's clear that HP considers this an important move in defining its own converged infrastructure offerings.

Now the interesting dichotomy here would appear to be HPs message; they want to free customers from proprietary protocols and technologies, as exemplified by Cisco, and are touting their use of open standards. But the general converged infrastructure message is one of the customers basically putting their eggs in the basket of a single vendor.

 HP has a huge portfolio of offerings across the computing spectrum, and for a large percentage of their customers can likely offer a solution that exclusively uses HP technologies.  Cisco, on the other hands, has a much narrower product range and fills out their offerings by partnering with the other vendors necessary to offer complete customer solutions. 

This leaves us with the following scenario:  HP, despite using "open" technologies, is much more likely to lock a customer into a single vendor solution, while Cisco, with their "proprietary" standards, is more likely to deliver a multivendor solution to customer problems.

Sometimes, it is a matter of defining what "is" is.

Topics: Cisco, Data Centers, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Storage

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  • RE: HP's datacenters go Cisco free

    Lots of data centers, large corporations and government networks have run "Cisco free' for many years so this isn't exactly big news. I suppose for HP Procurve, after roughly 10 years in the LAN switching space, to run their network on their own stuff, has really impressed them.
    • RE: HP's datacenters go Cisco free

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  • Bravo, David.

    Excellent analysis. The market needs to be careful of what it asks for. While folks may be understandably concerned about Cisco's domination, is the answer a single, controlling response? I always thought H-P was above this. Maybe their answers in the future will provide an answer. I've usually thought more of them -- think Dave and Bill -- but is this more Carly-ism? Just a thought; don't kill me in responses.
  • No more Dave and Bill

    In case you have been napping the past decade or two, Dave and Bill have left the building. Now it is all spreadsheets and margin.<br><br>This will put HP in a position to tell customers that if they also go with HP networking that a $$$ DISCOUNT $$$ can be applied to their entire purchase. Similar to what Microsoft did to DOS vendors when Windows appeared.<br><br>On the positive side, running their own data centers on their own product is the right thing to do. It will provide many opportunities to identify opportunities (bugs) to improve the produce.<br><br>Cisco found many opportunities like this when Novell moved everything internally from IPX to TCP/IP. Hammering hard on a product is a great thing.<br><br>The only question now is whether customers will have the strength to decline vendors such as HP's, IBM's, Oracle's, and Microsoft's offer to fill out the purchase order for them.
  • RE: HP's datacenters go Cisco free

    P-f-f-f-f-f-f! Hold on, let me wipe the coffee off my screen... You're actually suggesting HP will try to lock in customers by offering open standards-based networking products? How devilishly clever...
  • Lock?

    "...This leaves us with the following scenario: HP, despite using ?open? technologies, is much more likely to lock a customer into a single vendor solution, while Cisco, with their ?proprietary? standards, is more likely to deliver a multivendor solution to customer problems..."

    Forget defining what "is" is - how about learning the difference between customer's given the opportunity to decide on their own to select a single vendor hardware stack (or not) for financial, operational, or "single throat to choke" reasons and "lock in".

    Cisco out of the datacenter is a good thing.
  • That last paragraph is a marvel of self-contradiction

    If HP decides to offer a customer a discount if all of the datacenter uses HP gear, that's not a "lock", it's a bargain. Assuming that what you buy works to your specification, you have everything you want. You still have the choice of going with whatever else you want, you just don't get as large a volume discount. It works that way for everything from applesauce to zippers, no reason IT iron should be any different.
    terry flores
  • This isn't about discounts,

    all of the mentioned vendors will offer "package deals." The converged infrastructure model is more than simply a discount option for buying your entire datacenter from a single vendor.

    Pricing is not the driving force behind vendors pushing converged nfrastructure solutions. Believing that it is makes for a somewhat limited view of what the industry is attempting to do.
    David Chernicoff
  • Cisco using multivendor solutions?

    I could have sworn I read recently that Cisco is trying to enter the server and storage space in datacenters. Oh that's right, it was here on this site.

    You're not going to get a multivendor solution from Cisco, you're going to get a Cisco solution.

    You can run HP equipment on any decent switchgear, so I wouldn't exactly call that "locked" in. Of course, with better pricing, that same feature set, and lifetime warranties on their equipment, I am compelled to stick with them.
  • RE: HP's datacenters go Cisco free

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