Cisco's Biggest Partners Win in Cisco, HP Rift

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Cisco's largest channel partners, such as Dimension Data, are likely to be called on to pick up the slack in integration and implementation work now that Cisco has announced it won't renew its partnership with HP. HP will lose that business. Cisco announced the change amid a widening rift and growing competition between the two companies in selling integrated compute, networking and storage solutions to the data center.

As Cisco breaks off its longstanding partner relationship with HP, the big winners are likely to be Cisco’s largest channel partners who may find themselves taking over implementing technologies that HP used to resell and implement on Cisco’s behalf.

Cisco’s Channel Chief Keith Goodwin this week announced in a video blog that Cisco would not renew its reseller and partner relationship with HP. He said that given the growing competition between the two companies in the data center arena, Cisco did not want to reveal product roadmaps to HP.

While the change is likely to mean more business to Cisco’s biggest partners, HP is likely to take some kind of hit to its top line as it loses that business, analysts and industry observers say.

"In the cold light of day, it appears that HP needs Cisco more than Cisco needs HP, with the 3Com acquisition expected to still take some time to be completely integrated," Ovum analyst Adam Jura said in a brief report. "In addition, the QLogic partnership expansion announced yesterday will also demand substantial time and effort to fully cascade through and convert into real business opportunity."

And HP’s loss will be the gain of Cisco’s biggest partners.

"The major winners out of this will be the remaining partners, in particular Dimension Data (incorporating Datakraft), which is continuing to impress in its performance in the Cisco products and solutions implementation space," Jura said.

Dimension Data, Cisco’s largest reseller, declined to comment on the move by Cisco to oust HP and what it could ultimately mean to Dimension Data, instead issuing the following statement: "Dimension Data’s group policy is to not provide comment – real or hypothetical – to questions about our partners, affiliates, and subsidiaries."

However, the company was quick to point out that it has worked with Cisco for over 19 years, is a Cisco Gold Partner on six continents and has been recognized by Cisco for industry leadership year after year.

Smaller partners are unlikely to feel any repercussions of the Cisco/HP rift. Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing in San Diego, an HP solution provider that provides servers, storage and virtualization technology for data centers, said that the Cisco/HP divorce was unlikely to have any effect on his company.

"Where we are it’s a non-issue," he said, noting that while his company sometimes sold HP ProCurve and Brocade networking equipment, it did not work with the gigantic data centers that would be affected by this rift. "There is a war going on between Cisco and HP."


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com