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Cisco Systems and HP
have been fighting over the enterprise space for some time now with an official
divorce happening in February 2010 when they dissolved their partnership. But
the two companies put their differences aside recently for the sake of the data
center to come together to jointly release a product that extends the Cisco
Unified Fabric into the HP c-Class BladeSystem.

With
the number of shots fired between the two companies since they officially
dissolved their partnership in February 2010, it may be surprising that they
would come together to offer a joint solution, but according to one analyst,
it’s clear that Cisco and HP have recognized that they share a lot of joint
customers, including those that use both Cisco networking products in
conjunction with HP servers.

“The
announcement is significant in that it is clear that customers still want to
apply known ‘best practices’ to their IT infrastructure,” said Cindy Borovick,
program vice president for enterprise and data center networks at IDC.  “As
a result, customer choice in networking/servers/storage is still important. Clearly,
Cisco networking customers have invested in HP servers. In this specific case,
customers see the advantages of Cisco Fabric Extender and would like to apply
this architecture to their HP servers.”

The
Fabric Extender technology provides a scalable “pay as you grow” network
deployment model, Borovick noted.

“Cisco
as the leader in data center networking and HP as the leader in x86 servers
need to offer customers choices,” she said. “An all or nothing approach would
be foolish from suppliers with such strong brands and leading customers.”

The
Cisco Fabric Extender for HP BladeSystem (also known as the Cisco Nexus B22
Fabric Extender for HP) was co-engineered by Cisco and HP to make it easy for
customers to connect and configure HP BladeSystem c-Class infrastructure with
Cisco Unified Fabric. Available from HP and its authorized partners, the new
product offers tighter integration between Cisco Nexus switches and HP
BladeSystem.

“BladeSystem
customers are looking to HP for solutions that easily integrate into existing
environments,” said Jim Ganthier, vice president of marketing for industry
standard servers and software at HP. “This new solution allows
industry-standard collaboration options for enterprises choosing HP BladeSystem
c-Class infrastructure while simplifying their connections and reducing network
costs.”

Even
as the two technology giants fight for dominance in the data center space, many
environments are not made up of a single vendor’s products and instead use
products from both Cisco and HP. The new Cisco Fabric Extender for HP
BladeSystem was designed to provide several customer benefits, including
increased network bandwidth and resiliency for delivering mission-critical
applications running on multiple server links, expanded flexibility to address
changing business demands with consolidated migration paths from 1GbE to 10GbE
networks, and reduced network provisioning and maintenance required by IT
administrators from the Cisco Nexus parent switch to up to 24 fabric extenders.

“Our
customers want to easily and cost-effectively take advantage of the latest
Cisco Unified Fabric innovations,” said Soni Jiandani, senior vice president of
the server, access and virtualization technology group at Cisco. “By offering
the Cisco Nexus B22 Fabric Extender (FEX) for HP, our customers can extend the
benefits of the Cisco Unified Fabric across their existing data center
infrastructure.”