HP Takes a Swipe at Cisco UCS Strategy

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print

Hewlett-Packard pens an article that goes into great detail on the shortcomings and limitations of Cisco's Unified Computing Systems strategy for the data center. HP calls UCS too complex, inefficient, insecure, costly and, most damning, designed to just sell more Cisco gear. Could this be the first salvo in a server war between the two longtime allies?

At a recent press event, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior said the networking giant wasn't looking to undercut the existing server market leaders--Hewlett-Packard and IBM--with its forthcoming virtualized blade servers and Unified Computing System strategy. Rather, Warrior said UCS was about building better, next-generation data centers.

Obviously a "next-generation data center" will mean displacing the existing data center that's dominated by HP and IBM servers, but Cisco has been careful in most cases to avoid calling out its long-time server allies.

HP, however, isn't being so cordial. The owner of one-third of the global server market has published a scathing assessment of Cisco's UCS strategy, titled: "The Real Story about Cisco's "One Giant Switch" view of the Datacenter," The self-published article goes into great detail in a blunt critique that boils down to UCS being too complex, inefficient, insecure, costly and, most damning, designed to just sell more Cisco gear.

The article states:

"In a network centric view of the datacenter the network admin rules it all. Cisco's so called unified computing requires a change of control where all datacenter traffic is now piped through the center of the network adding yet another coordination touch point. This scheme requires investing in a very large, complex, and expensive networking system, similar to "one giant switch" in the middle of the data center."

HP goes to great lengths in its assessment to pick apart the UCS strategy on points ranging from difficulties in purchasing UCS equipment to technology complexity to cost and insecurity to lack of scalability to customers being locked into a single vendor platform.

While Cisco has said that UCS is designed to leverage the efficiencies of virtualization to create data centers with higher resource utilization and small physical and energy footprints, it hasn't shied away from the complexity issue. UCS, which is still mostly concept than a product, will only be available initially direct from Cisco and through a handful of large integrators. Cisco says specific capabilities are required to design and install UCS.

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Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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