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HP is pushing to win over Cisco's business partners with networking solutions from new acquisiton 3Com, like this 4800G Gigabit switching unit.  (Source: HP)
Company also claims that its costs are 30 to 50 percent lower, and its products 70 percent more energy efficient

HP and IBM are currently the top producers of business servers.  However, with its $2.7B USD acquisition of 3COM, a leading networking solutions provider, HP is looking to step up its all-around networking solutions efforts, challenging Cisco in the arena of networking hardware and software.

The key to its efforts, HP says, is that its new networking solutions, which offer 50 percent better performance than Cisco's at 30 to 50 percent cost (we're guessing Cisco would disagree).  HP also accuses Cisco of maintaining a massive 80 percent profit margin (this would perhaps be less surprising; some electronics companies approach this big a margin, including Apple).

HP was showcasing its networking wares at the Everything Channel's VAR500-CIO50 Conference in New York on Tuesday (VAR stands for Value Added Reseller).  It was talking up executives atDimension Data, Worldwide Technology, Presidio and CompuCom, some of Cisco's biggest VAR customers.

The company has also been courting the top 10 systems integrators and top 10 carriers in the country.  And it's also approached many small to midsize businesses (SMBs) about its smaller scale networking solutions.

Armughan Ahmad, who helped build out the 3Com enterprise networking channel, has been named as HP's new vice president, Americas Channel Sales, HP Networking.  He's playing the role of chief evangelist for the HP's efforts, stating, "[Our products offer] twice the performance, 50 percent less energy usage, are 35 to 50 percent less expensive and are easier to manage [than Cisco's].  We have the full gamut of networking products.  My message is 'let's go win some deals together."

HP's efforts will culminate at the HP TechForum 2010 in Las Vegas June 21 - 24, where it aims to certify a bunch of partners on its new products.

HP may be well positioned to make a move in this market.  Its business uses "merchant silicon" rather than the ASIC-based technology.  It is open standards-based and is easier to gain supplies of than ASIC solutions, says HP.  Cisco suffered supply shortages through much of last year, that hurt the company.  Ahmad boast that merchant silicon is giving his company a 70 percent energy efficiency edge over Cisco in comparable products.  HP is not alone in supporting the movement to merchant silicon -- Sun is also betting big on this direction.

The aggressive approach may be paying off.  One unnamed executive in a 
CRN report remarked, "We're more committed to HP than any other vendor.  They have changed how they work with us. We used to fight each other on the hardware side of the business. Now we go in hand in hand. We have a deep relationship and they care."

The executive refuses to go exclusive with either Cisco or HP, though, stating, "This is still a customer-driven business.  If they ask us to choose we all lose."



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Great for HP, but...
By Inkjammer on 6/11/2010 10:34:16 AM , Rating: 5
This is a great claim by HP, but given HP's quality concerns and higher rate-of-failure than almost anybody in the industry, I doubt business will go running towards them. Cisco is *very* expensive, yes, and some of their modules are downright ghastly as far as cost (just google Cisco certified RAM if you want to have a heartattack). However, that said, Cisco's equipment is rock solid.

When Cisco equipment does fail, Cisco has one the best customer response times in the business I've ever seen - sometimes going so far as to even send technicians out to hand deliver equipment (sometimes even flying them to their destination) to ensure one of the highest turnaround times in the business (especially for higher end customers, like Amazon's DCs in Virginia).

I speak from personal experience. Is Cisco overpriced? Yes. Expensive? Hell yes. But when it comes to support and reliability, you generally get what you pay for in a Cisco product. HP can be very hit-or-miss with their products in those regards. I wouldn't trust a corporate infrastructure to HP.




RE: Great for HP, but...
By Mike2038 on 6/11/2010 10:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
I agree.

Comes down to cost of network reliability. How much does your company stand to lose for every outage or hour of network issues. Plus there is the customer experience if your customers are effected by your network outages that can spell disaster for your companies image.

Cisco might cost more but the reliability is worth the cost.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By Flunk on 6/11/2010 10:50:28 AM , Rating: 4
Are you comparing the reliabilty of HP server products with Cisco's networking products? HP's networking products are provided entirly from their division that used to be 3com. 3Com products offered fantastic reliabilty and performance and I don't think changing the name on the sticker changes that.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By Ratinator on 6/11/2010 11:07:05 AM , Rating: 1
It might if the 3COM division ends up adopting HP's model for customer service and quality control. Considering HP now owns them, I don't see this being a far fetched thing.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By SandmanWN on 6/11/2010 11:19:07 AM , Rating: 4
HP Enterprise quality control and support is pretty top notch.

We aren't talking your store bought HP end-user desktop support here. Business support is a whole different ballpark.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By Taft12 on 6/11/2010 11:31:50 AM , Rating: 3
I'm not sure the original poster has any experience with HP networking gear and is projecting the crappy consumer product support onto the enterprise offerings.

Having a tech visit your site is nothing to be impressed about, all enterprise vendors offer this regardless if the label says IBM, Dell, HP, Cisco... It costs a fortune and is worth every penny when downtime strikes.

Also I think the OP didn't quite intend what he said here:

... ensure one of the highest turnaround times in the business

;)


RE: Great for HP, but...
By Inkjammer on 6/11/2010 12:03:30 PM , Rating: 3
I have a lot of experience with HP, Dell and Sun servers - I'm a part of a team that with several hundred servers under our belt, I own several ProLiant, Sun and PowerEdge servers personally. My friend is also a NOC tech for Amazon, and is responsible for the uptime of over 30K servers. It's something we've discussed a bit over time.

I've had mixed results with HP's ProLiant support side, and been less than thrilled with them overall compared to the support we've received from 3Ware, Dell, Cisco, Sun and other enterprise groups I deal with.

And no, I'm not impressed by a high turnaround time on tickets alone. SLAs are standard. But I am impressed when a Cisco tech gets on a plane, carries the part and hand delivers it to a location. An actual Cisco tech. Not an HP or Dell contract support tech. An actual Cisco employee -vs- the 4 hour turn around time for enterprise gear.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By semiconshawn on 6/13/2010 1:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
So you pay 3 times what somethings worth and get good customer service. Wow. I bet the reps even buy you lunch. Lmao. Its nothing for a vendor who has already screwed you for millions to send people at a cost of thousands to make you happy. They dont have great customer service you just bought the service plan without being asked. Applied Materials is great at this in the semicon industry.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By AstroCreep on 6/11/2010 12:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
HP's networking products are provided entirly from their division that used to be 3com.

No they're not. They've been running the ProCurve line for ten years now. They didn't acquire 3com until this past year. All the current 3com products out there still say "3com" on them as well.

Their current wireless offerings, however, are rebadged Colubris Networks equipment, which makes sense since hp bought them in 2008.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By michael67 on 6/11/2010 12:42:14 PM , Rating: 1
Do you put HP consumer whit enterprise products in the same group now ???

Then you have no clue what you talking about, they have a 24/7 help desk that really knows what they doing.
On most of there enterprise products they give lifelong support, i got me from work a laserjet 4+, the damn thing is 15y old and still working perfect after 1.2m pages, the only thing i did not got to work was the network, i called HP and they helped me for a hour to get the printer working again.

When i ask the guy if he did not get in to trouble helping me whit a 15y old product for privet use, he just said those printers had lifelong support, so it did not mater i was using it privet.

Same go's for a 3COM 905 network card, i fried one properly my own fault, went to the shop delivered it in and got on the spot a an even newer one because the 905c was EOL, that card is still running in my server for 15y now, and was the first card under win 95 that had no driver install problems, ware every other card then was always a driver nightmare.

On the other hand, when i had some configuration problems whit a Sisco 1600 router, and had some problems whit setting it up they told me it was EOL and because i did not serves contract i could only get support if i payed €700 for telephone tech support on a case to case basis, even if the tech support only needed 5 min to explain how to fix it.

Friend of mine is a net-admin he fixed the problem for me in 10min.


RE: Great for HP, but...
By ShaolinSoccer on 6/12/2010 1:05:35 AM , Rating: 5
please use a spelling checker next time...

I can't believe you even spelled Cisco as Sisco...


RE: Great for HP, but...
By AstroCreep on 6/11/2010 1:13:49 PM , Rating: 3
I'm going to disagree with you.

We had a full Cisco switched network at my company for six years. Most of them were growing a little long in the tooth (about half were still 10/100) and we investigated upgrading our infrastructure. We looked at Cisco, Nortel, and HP switches.
We were already familiar with Cisco and their reputation for quality (although we had two separate occasions where one switch must have had a bad ARP table or something and would start passing that data around to the other switches, causing mass network hysteria), we were left with a bad taste in our mouths due to the way Cisco nickles & dimes you to death on things like firmware updates and even requiring a SmartNET contract to unlock certain features within switches.

I had previous experience with Nortel switches that had a cascade/stacking feature, and while they were nice, the price was high and the company's uncertain future weighed heavily against them.

Lastly, there was ProCurve. They're approach is simple - no proprietary BS, only industry supported standards and a LIFETIME WARRANTY. They were missing the cascade feature, but they do have a couple 10Gb connections on their backs which can be used in a similar fashion.
Plus one of the hp RPS units can protect four switches out-of-the-box (two on continuous power), whereas the RPS units for our Ciscos will do two (but only one out-of-the-box; must buy separate additional power supply). PLUS the Cisco ones force the switches to reboot before they can change to the backup power source. The hp switches just keep running.

So at this point in time, we're an all ProCurve shop for our LAN. They have been in production for a year-and-a-half now and there was only one incident where we had a problem, but a simple restart of the switch fixed it.
We still have our iSCSI SAN on Cisco 3750s, but that's because they had all of the features the SAN requires, and all of the ones we wanted as well. If we were going to replace the switches on the SAN today, we'd look at Cisco as well as some of the other big-boys (Juniper, hp, etc).


RE: Great for HP, but...
By 9nails on 6/11/2010 3:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When Cisco equipment does fail, Cisco has one the best customer response times in the business I've ever seen - sometimes going so far as to even send technicians out to hand deliver equipment (sometimes even flying them to their destination) to ensure one of the highest turnaround times in the business (especially for higher end customers, like Amazon's DCs in Virginia).

I speak from personal experience. Is Cisco overpriced? Yes. Expensive? Hell yes. But when it comes to support and reliability, you generally get what you pay for in a Cisco product. HP can be very hit-or-miss with their products in those regards. I wouldn't trust a corporate infrastructure to HP.


I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you on both statements.

The only way to get good customer service from Cisco is to pay additional for Cisco SmartNet contracts on all of your Cisco gear. Only then can you get an engineer or a replacement in a reasonable amount of time. If you stick to the limited lifetime warranty, it will take a minimum of 10 business days for your parts to ship, and you don't get support with an engineer under this agreement. If you're a shop as large as mine, SmartNet contracts mean that you're throwing away several million dollars per year to cover what might go bad with equipment that costs 2x, 3x, or 4x more than the competitor.

Cisco's limited lifetime does work, and I do get parts from them. It will usually take 2 calls to get my parts. And even there's something of a no hassle approach where I can ask for a new switch if I have something as minor as a noisy fan.

Now, I also use HP servers, and perhaps this is different than a switch, but their servers come available with a 5-year next business day replacement warranty. And even that sometimes comes at a slight discount than their standard 3 year same business day warranty. With HP it usually takes one phone call to support. And the HP support always asks if I want a technician to bring out and replace even something as mundane as a hot-swappable hard drive or hot swap power supply. So for getting failed hardware replaced, HP is superior in this category.

I do completely agree with you that Cisco is expensive and overpriced. But nobody I know of has ever been fired for buying Cisco networks!


Win win
By SandmanWN on 6/11/2010 10:40:53 AM , Rating: 3
This is a win for everyone. Cisco is cold hearted calculating bastard. Even the slightest hint of excess stock in the industry and they cut production to maintain that 80% profit margin. Everything is overpriced, some even to ludicrous levels. Cisco doesn't have supply shortages, they purposefully keep stocks low to inflate prices.

Cisco needs some stiff competition and I hope 3COM/HP will give us that so our networks can expand much faster than they are today. The nations backbone is pitiful because they can't afford the routers and service contracts Cisco demands.




RE: Win win
By Inkjammer on 6/11/2010 10:41:52 AM , Rating: 3
All depends on the reliability of HP's gear for a long term win. I wouldn't mind seeing Cisco's costs knocked down a bit. They need a challenger.


RE: Win win
By SandmanWN on 6/11/2010 10:43:10 AM , Rating: 3
You keep saying HP, but this is essentially 100% 3COM with HP backing. Drop the HP reliability nonsense.


RE: Win win
By Taft12 on 6/11/10, Rating: 0
RE: Win win
By AstroCreep on 6/11/2010 1:22:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You keep saying HP, but this is essentially 100% 3COM with HP backing. Drop the HP reliability nonsense.

Not necessarily. ProCurve has been around since 2000. hp started their marketing push against Cisco before they announced the acquisition of 3com; they're simply giving it a LARGE push now. And I'm all for it; Cisco has been getting away with increasing prices and decreasing customer satisfaction for far too long. There's a reason they have the position they do in the networking world, but I feel they've abused that position, and they need to be knocked-down a couple of pegs.


RE: Win win
By Lifted on 6/11/2010 6:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
You don't think HP is "streamlining" 3com support to fit into the HP model?

It's already been stated above what happens to support when large company X buys smaller company Y. Just look at Dell and EqualLogic. A lot of EqualLogic shops are looking at alternatives, with quality of support and lag in new hardware being the main issues, which all happened since Dell took over. Why? Usually because all the brains in the company leave to another smaller company or start a new one, and everyone else is just happy if they get to keep their jobs. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this will have a negative effect on support, updates, and future releases.


RE: Win win
By alanore on 6/11/2010 11:29:52 AM , Rating: 2
National back bone routers are a straight fight between Juniper and Cisco, I don't think 3COM will should up to the party. Cisco currently hold a massive performance advantage.

I think competition would be good for customers, but competitors to Cisco never tend to do so well. I think HPs move into a core routing/switching market is more of knee jerk to Cisco move into HP Datacenter market. Even if HP/3Com have better kit at some price points/products they are significantly behind in terms of architecture.


RE: Win win
By SandmanWN on 6/11/2010 11:54:08 AM , Rating: 3
True they don't make core routers. They are currently stuck in small/medium models and some limited success in larger models. I think HP can certainly help them break into much larger business models. Competing with the high end Cisco/BigIron/Riverstone territory.

We used Avici for our backbone btw. AT&T used them for a while. There are other options and hopefully someone will get some market penetration and give us a break from Cisco.


They both are good and reliable in my experience
By callmeroy on 6/11/2010 11:13:21 AM , Rating: 2
In nearly 15 years of experience in the IT field I've been at small companies and 10,000+ employee firms using both HP or Cisco. Both are good products and reliable (I think a large part of reliability is having to do with how they are maintained and configured in the first place).

I will say this about Cisco though -- they do nickel and dime you and many of their features are made more complicated to setup than it really needs to be. More than once I get the impression that Cisco devices are needlessly complicated JUST to get you to call on their paid support services.

Btw that 10,000 employee company was a national bank and they were almost exclusive HP networking equipment and it was very reliable for them.




By jslnwsky on 6/11/2010 11:16:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm curious as to what kinds of MTBF numbers HP and CISCO throw around for their networking products. Anyone know?


Did everyone forget about this?
By ShaolinSoccer on 6/12/2010 1:13:52 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.dailytech.com/HP+Labs+Shows+New+Memrist...

HP is looking to become a major player. This company started out kinda bad but given time, it could end up being one of the biggest companies.




RE: Did everyone forget about this?
By andyilm on 6/13/2010 12:41:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
HP is looking to become a major player. This company started out kinda bad but given time, it could end up being one of the biggest companies.


How old are you, 15? Hewlett-Packard (HP) is a legendary electronics company. They have been producing network equipment for decades.
Just as their acquisition of Compaq improved their server product line, the acquisition of 3Com will improve their networking products.
I couldn't let a comment like that get by without setting it straight for you,


Cisco ftw
By HrilL on 6/11/2010 1:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
Like the good saying goes "No one has ever been fired for going CISCO."




the facts.
By ed1795 on 6/11/2010 2:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
in 30 seconds you can do simple division and see that Cisco's gross profit margins are 64%, Apple's are 40% and HP's are 23%. What this means is if they both had the same costs of manufacturing of $100, Cisco would price at $277 and HP at $129. In a nutshell, Hp would be at 47% of Cisco. Looks to me that HP isn't so far off in their claims.

You might want to do 1 minute of homework before you make a statement about whether cost claims are real or not.




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