A tip of the cap to the management and M&A teams at HP, as they continue to acquire the necessary pieces to challenge Cisco’s core business. With HP’s acquisition of 3Com for $2.7 billion, HP has gained a portfolio of modern architected networking products that span switching, routing, and network security. Additionally, HP expanded access to overseas markets, including the ever expanding market in China, through 3Com’s H3C unit.
While some will laugh at the reach and capabilities of 3Com, HP understands that 3Com’s products are solid, modern, and good-enough when put under the HP ProCurve brand and backed by the power of HP and their Services Division. Furthermore, while Cisco continues to date the likes of EMC and VMware, HP is in full control of their destiny. They have built a strong portfolio that spans storage, servers, virtualization, networking, security, applications, and management.
While Cisco isn’t going to be losing any sleep over this acquisition, they will take note of how aggressive HP is going to be to not only defend their own turf but also to expand into Cisco’s bread and butter. However, IBM, Juniper, Brocade, and Dell may be tossing and turning tonight as they contemplate the future. If IBM continues to wait to purchase the necessary pieces to compete with HP and Cisco, their choices will be limited. If Dell does not shore up their portfolio, then they face the reality of falling further behind and severely limiting their growth potential. Finally, both Juniper and Brocade must weigh the possibility that organic growth may not be possible as we are nearing a major inflection point for all of IT.
One quick note, don’t underestimate Huawei or ZTE as they are both hungry and flush with cash. Additionally, Oracle remains a wildcard as they may jump into this race.