HP Outlines 3Com Integration, Channel Opportunity

Vendor sets up new networking group to include 3Com and ProCurve products, promises enhancements to certification programs, incremental VAR recruitment.

Hewlett-Packard Co. this week detailed how it intends to integrate 3Com Corp.’s product line and channel partner program into its existing framework, using the setting on multiple occasions to stake out its competitive positioning against bitter rival Cisco Systems Inc.

Dave Donatelli, HP executive vice president, general manager, enterprise servers, storage and networking, speaking on a conference call only a few days after the two companies closed the $2.7 billion deal, said that the new HP Networking portfolio, combining 3Com’s networking gear and HP’s ProCurve line, will be spearheaded by Marius Haas, HP senior vice president and general manager.

The Networking unit will be part of Donatelli’s group. All of 3Com’s existing equipment, including its TippingPoint security products, which now become part of HP’s Secure Advantage series, will be housed under the Networking group’s umbrella.

“This story starts and ends with one message,” Donatelli said. “With the addition of 3Com, HP will transform the networking industry by offering clients choice where there was none before—a choice of newer and more innovative networking technology based on open standards and offered at a competitive price point.”

Donatelli provided sparing details about the melding of HP’s and 3Com’s partner programs, disclosing only that channel partners will receive more details soon and that the vendor’s certification program will receive a significant, overall boost. He pegged the market opportunity at some $40 billion.

“This is an enormous opportunity for us to come together with our partner ecosystem and gain a disproportionate share of the market,” he said.

“Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be deploying all of our partner programs and communicating to all of the partners the details of each one of these programs. You should assume that we are bringing the best of breed of both programs together and enabling our partners to compete in the market.”

Both Donatelli and Haas said that existing HP partners also selling Cisco products will not be “pressured” to turn in their Cisco badges.

“It’s a heterogeneous world out there,” Haas said. “Customers want choice and we offer our VARs that same opportunity. Our view always is that we need to offer better solutions and better products to earn higher share and that will clearly always be our goal. But there won’t be any pressure exerted.”

As part of the integration process, HP already has added heft to its certification program, Donatelli said, and intends to “accelerate” its investment in that area.

“We are making it much more pervasive across both the HP environment and our partner ecosystem, and doing training and certification with our client base,” he said.

“In addition, we’re going to enhance it further by ensuring that every one of the components of the Converged Infrastructure is part of our certification and training modules, providing a differentiation in the market, a more comprehensive view as to all the different capabilities that HP brings to bear across servers, storage, networking as well as management.”

HP’s plans will see it step up partner recruitment on an incremental basis to extend coverage and market reach, Donatelli said.

Networking portfolio central to Converged Infrastructure strategy

He said that HP views its networking portfolio as the foundation of its Converged Infrastructure strategy, an all-in-one blueprint for the data center in which servers, storage, networking, management, facilities and services are more tightly intertwined.

HP will go to market with four buckets of networking products, HP A, E, S and V-series, each honed in on particular segments of the market and technology. HP’s ProCurve line will be transitioned into the E-series, Donatelli said.

He said that HP’s approach, built on open standards, featuring an end-to-end product roster and, offering what he said was lower total-cost-of-ownership, positioned it favorably with clients. In so doing, he didn’t invoke Cisco’s name, but made his reference clear.

“For years the IT industry has had to live with one viewpoint on networking—a closed and rigid model that is high in cost and slow to innovate,” Donatelli said. “This has limited our IT clients’ ability to change and grow with the business. They’ve wanted a better choice in networking and HP is that better choice.”

To make its point, HP announced that its newest internal data center, located in the Houston, TX-area, was constructed with only HP and 3Com equipment.

“We’re not locked into the proprietary protocols that many in the IT industry are familiar with and this gives us more flexibility to change as our business grows,” said Ken Gray, HP vice president, Infrastructure, Global Information Technology Organization.

“We’re Cisco-free in this data center and have a plan to extend this freedom across all of our internal data centers next year.”

The network within the data center is comprised of ProCurve gear at the switching layer. All routing and intrusion detection and preventing systems are 3Com’s.

TAGS: networking,data center,HP,3Com,channel partner

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