The datacentre market is tired of being held at ransom by the incumbent networking market leader, according to a HP executive.
In the eyes of Steven Dietch, vice president of global marketing for HP Networking, the current datacentre scene is "siloed", with many companies' IT infrastructures "fragmented and confusing to manage". He attributed these in part to pricey and proprietary networking products, as well as to the business practices of the dominant networking vendor but stopped short of naming its competitor.
He told ZDNet Australia's sister site ZDNet Asia during an interview that HP aims to address these issues with an integrated portfolio of 3Com and ProCurve products, which he claimed will play well with customers' legacy equipment.
"We believe that having open systems, interoperability, flexibility and working with third-party vendors — and HP has over 40,000 developers in its partner ecosystem — provide a compelling alternative for enterprise customers," declared Dietch.
When asked to elaborate, the executive noted that as part of its interoperability drive, third-party software makers can make use of HP's open network environment to run their applications on top of HP's hardware stack. Dietch also said the company started its ProCurve Open Network Ecosystem (ONE) Alliance in January 2009, which counts the likes of Avaya and F5 as partners.
Dietch also appeared confident of HP's plans to usurp leadership within the networking space. He said that the company has "aggressive growth goals" and everyone in the company is focused on being "No. 1 as fast as possible".
Cisco Systems is widely recognised to be the current market leader in this sector, and had dropped HP as a certified channel partner earlier in February due to increasing conflicts of interest as each encroaches on the other's field of play.
In an earlier interview with ZDNet Asia, a Cisco representative commented on HP's acquisition of 3Com saying: "As the leader in the networking market, Cisco is very confident in our business strategy, commitment to product innovation and ability to provide strategic business value to our customers in a highly competitive marketplace."
Cisco declined to comment further on its competitor's recent business developments.
No hitches in 3Com integration
The 3Com acquisition, which cost HP approximately US$2.7 billion, was finalised on 13 April this year, and the HP executive said that the integration of 3Com into the company is coming along nicely. He noted that there is "little overlap of products" between the two, and that HP will continue to produce existing 3Com equipment and services "as long as there is demand" by customers.
In regard to its ProCurve branding, Dietch disclosed that the name will cease to exist within "the next few months" as its entire suite of networking and datacentre offerings will go under the overall HP brand.
However, there will be two exceptions to the rule. He said the H3C branding for 3Com's product portfolio will continue to exist in China, Hong Kong and Macau, as 3Com had built up a sound reputation in those markets. TippingPoint, 3Com's network security tool, will meanwhile continue to exist as a stand-alone "endorsed brand" within the HP portfolio, he detailed.
As for existing ProCurve customers that have been enjoying lifetime warranties and free software updates, Dietch said some will continue to enjoy these benefits.
Customers who are currently using or plan to purchase HP Networking E series products stand to benefit the most with more products to choose from and will enjoy the above-mentioned benefits, he added.
As for the other three categories of products — the HP Networking A, V and S series — customers will receive "industry-competitive warranties" and service and support from the company, Dietch said.
The A series product line is aimed at enterprise clients with "large and complex deployments", while small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs) should look at the V series offerings. Its S series targets customers interested in protecting their existing infrastructure, he said.