What Customers Can Expect from Cisco, HP Breakup

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-02-19 Print this article Print

News Analysis: How do two companies like Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard go on working together to serve common customers and providing innovative products when they cannot share proprietary information?

Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, once the best of friends in selling each other's IT software and hardware into large data centers and distributed IT systems, corporately called it quits on Feb. 18. Their channel partner, systems integration and global service contracts end on April 30 and will not be renewed, Cisco has proclaimed.

Reasons for this long-simmering unease can be found in this eWEEK article. Naturally, this corporate clash of IT titans raises a number of concerns. Among them: What does this separation mean for the two companies' many thousands of shared customers? How does this affect their channel sales partners and VARs? How much of an opening will it give to other systems integrators, now that HP has been fired by Cisco in this area?

Perhaps the most important question is this: How do two companies like these go on working together with common customers and providing innovative products when they cannot share proprietary information?

For insight on these and other questions in this winter of corporate discontent, eWEEK sought opinions from several industry thought leaders.

Analyst Bob Laliberte of Enterprise Strategy Group said he thinks that, realistically, the two companies cannot go on working together.

"Basically they don't [work together anymore]. There may be some type of basic reseller agreement put in place, and they will figure out a way to support existing customers, but moving forward, the lines have been drawn and they will be competing against each other for business," Laliberte told eWEEK.

"The cutting-edge solutions will be either all HP or all Cisco (and Cisco partners). For example, in the Cisco camp is the Vblock technology utilizing VMware, Cisco's UCS, and EMC storage and management software. For HP, that may be HP-branded QLogic SN6000 FC switches integrated with HP servers and storage and controlled by the Simple SAN connection manager."

James Staten, a principal analyst with Forrester, predicts "degrees of partnership" in whatever relationship HP and Cisco have in the future.

"Each of these companies has been a reseller of each other's solutions in a way that they were jointly developing solutions that required access to road maps and NDA info that simply doesn't make sense to share anymore," Staten told eWEEK.

"So they will simply move down to a lower level of partnership where this isn't necessary. It still means they will jointly work [with publicly available info] to ensure their solutions integrate. To your point in your question, they have to."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel