HP continues to plug-the-holes against Cisco by signing a three-year agreement with Avaya. The agreement calls for HP sales and services teams to be trained and certified in Avaya call center and unified communications. HP sales teams will have the ability to resell Avaya and offer outsourced management.
What’s interesting about this announcement is that HP now has agreements with multiple competitors for the next generation data center including Brocade and Avaya. If you add the potential overlap between Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent mixed with a bit of Microsoft then you have the danger of some explosive conflict. Of course, HP is no stranger to handling this type of conflict. However, would a future Avaya acquisition make better strategic sense for HP?
Meanwhile, as HP strengthens their partnerships, Cisco strengthens their next generation data center arsenal. Once again, Cisco has trumped their competitors by introducing FabricPath, a superset of the emerging IETF standard called Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL). Remember, Brocade is committed to TRILL within their recently announced Brocade Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS).
FabricPath is an upgrade to NX-OS that combines the best of layer-3 routing and layer-2 switching allowing for scaleable data centers with predictable network performance. Take the following example from Cisco that was featured in an article by Kevin Komiega in InfoStor:
“With spanning-tree you have multiple links which are blocked and a high level of oversubscription. With FabricPath you can build a scalable, flat, non-blocking network with two layers and no oversubscription with a 16X improvement in bandwidth performance,” says Nikhil Kelshikar, product marketing manager for Cisco Nexus 7000 Solutions.
Additionally, FabricPath and Cisco’s new F-Series modules for the Nexus 7000 allow Cisco to combine six Nexus 7000 switches into a single product. Cisco is offering a pre-packaged solution called FabricPath Switching System (FSS) that can be grouped in clusters of eight to allow for 160Tbps of raw switching capacity. Wow, did I just write that? Not to mention the fact that Cisco just took the air out of Juniper’s Stratus Unified Fabric.
If that wasn’t enough, Cisco announced the availability of a software release of WAAS that can be run as on on-demand service on the Cisco ISR. Next, Cisco rolled-out new cloud deployment professional services and Cisco introduced a new Catalyst 4948-E Switch with increased capacity, performance, and automation.
Finally, Cisco is introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions for IT Services. Building on Cisco’s acquisition of Tidal Software, Inc., they are releasing new versions of the Tidal Enterprise Scheduler and Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator. As any reader of this blog knows, I am very interested in the autonomic aspects of the next generation data center and I hope to obtain additional information about this solution.
In this latest round of the battle for the next generation data center, Cisco’s products trump HP’s partnerships.