In a move to counter Cisco
's planned entrance into the data
center, Hewlett-Packard is forming alliances, launching new products and authoring new initiatives. It's a three-pronged strategy that HP hopes will help the company and its partners gain more market share in a competitive arena.
For starters, HP ProCurve, the networking division of HP, on Monday expanded its Adaptive Networks vision -- a vision that sees networks adapt to users, applications and organizations' needs.
Additionally, two new initiatives will make way for customers to address rapidly changing enterprise data-center needs and improve network-application efficiency. HP ProCurve also unveiled data-center switches and management software to help customers lower costs, mitigate risks, and drive business growth.
But what got analysts' attention is strong industry support for the HP ProCurve Open Network Ecosystem, also known as HP ProCurve ONE. It's a multi-vendor alliance program that aims to optimize the performance of enterprise-class applications with HP ProCurve infrastructure.
A Unified Front
Microsoft, Avaya, McAfee, F5 and Riverbed, Aastra, AirTight Networks, Ekahau, InMon, .vantronix and VBrick are participating in the partnership, collaborating with HP ProCurve to help customers strengthen security, reduce complexity of network management, increase network and data-center performance, deploy new VoIP services, and improve manageability.
"To help customers address the increased pace of change within their businesses, HP ProCurve is combining its own technology with some of the most innovative, respected and visionary companies in the world," said Marius Haas, senior vice president and general manager of HP ProCurve. "Establishing partnerships with major technology companies to deliver open-standards choices delivers business value by increasing the efficiency of network applications."
The goal of HP ProCurve ONE is to allow customers to securely integrate a wide choice of network applications and services from alliance partners that work directly with the HP ProCurve infrastructure. HP ProCurve ONE partner applications are tested and certified to ensure interoperability with the new HP ProCurve ONE Services zl Module.
"HP ProCurve ONE will help customers resolve interoperability concerns by delivering an open standards-based solution that is effective and efficient," said Tim Sinclair, general manager at Microsoft. "The combination of the HP ProCurve ONE initiative and Microsoft Network Access Protection will provide customers with enhanced security and policy-based access that helps reduce downtime and boosts return on investment."
New Data-Center Solutions
As for the new solutions, the HP ProCurve Data Center Connection Manager is designed to streamline operations in next-generation data centers. It enables automated provisioning of server and network resources in virtualized and traditional environments.
The HP ProCurve 6600 switch series adds five new top-of-rack server-edge switches to the HP data-center portfolio. By turning off unused ports and employing a front-to-back reversible airflow system, the HP ProCurve 6600 switches help reduce energy consumption and allow customers to effectively manage the cooling layout of their data centers.
According to Zeus Kerravala, a vice president at the Yankee Group, Cisco and HP are looking at each others' markets, which creates an interesting dilemma because HP sells a lot of Cisco gear in what has long been a beneficial relationship between the two tech-industry giants.
"Quite frankly, the only way ProCurve grows is to take some of Cisco's shares, but they are missing a lot of the stuff Cisco has. So they are putting together best-of-breed vendors to compete. This is a who's who list. It would be hard to find a stronger list of partners," Kerravala said.
"Cisco is continuing to innovate in different areas where in some ways ProCurve is playing catch-up, but they are catching up awfully quickly with a strong portfolio.
The question is, can they do something with these partners? Can they make the fact that they are all working on the ProCurve chassis [bring you something] you wouldn't get by running them separately?"