HP Takes Aim at Cisco with Alcatel-Lucent Alliance

HP's 10-year alliance with Alcatel-Lucent is the latest move by the tech giant in its growing competition with Cisco Systems in the data center space. Cisco's move into the data center put a strain on its partnership with HP, which has been looking to build up its own networking capabilities through its ProCurve business. The Alcatel-Lucent alliance will add to what HP can do in networking. It also will help HP build up its cloud computing capabilities, which will let HP keep in stride with such vendors as IBM and Cisco in that space.

Hewlett-Packard's 10-year alliance with telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent gives the technology giant another weapon in its data center competition against Cisco Systems.

It's also another step for HP as it tries to build up its cloud computing capabilities.

HP and Alcatel-Lucent announced their alliance June 18, a move that HP officials say enables customers of both companies to take advantage of the ongoing convergence of IT and telecommunications. HP officials expect that the partnership-once the definitive agreement has been executed-could generate billions of dollars in revenues over those 10 years.

Though neither company offered significant details of the deal, both said they will jointly market their products in a move to help businesses move their telecommunications networks into more converged infrastructures.

HP and Alcatel-Lucent also will offer services around the joint offerings, and Alcatel-Lucent's products in such areas as IP telephony, unified communications, mobility, security and contact centers will be integrated with HP's technology offerings. Those integrated products will be offered via resellers or as services.

"We expect customers will be able to create new business opportunities and greater efficiencies from this alliance," Mark Hurd, HP chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "By combining our deep expertise in IT and communications, HP and Alcatel-Lucent will help customers transform their technology needs into a competitive edge."

One analyst said the alliance was a smart move by HP, which is finding itself in a heated competition with Cisco in the data center, and also needs to catch up to Cisco and IBM in the area of cloud computing.

Cisco, long known for its networking capabilities, made a significant step into the data center when it unveiled its UCS (Unified Computing System), an all-in-one offering that includes Cisco-branded blade servers and networking technology as well as capabilities from such partners as VMware, EMC and Intel.

The move also alienated other partners, in particular HP, which shot back soon afterward with its own all-in-one data center offering, the BladeSystem Matrix.