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Hewlett-Packard Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. are teaming to provide large customers with combined network maintenance and support services around the globe.

As a part of their worldwide services alliance, the vendors will co-brand HP Network Services with the Cisco Support program, providing a single face to customers and a seamless handoff of problem resolution between Network Services and Cisco’s services organization, Cisco officials said.

“HP will be primary contact,” said a Cisco spokesperson in San Jose, Calif. “But following that, HP will work with Cisco to make sure problems get resolved. We are integrating our infrastructure, so systems will be transparent, and we will operate as a full partnership when servicing these customers.” Although the initial focus of the alliance is on network maintenance, the vendors will ramp up additional services for planning, design, implementation and optimization.

Starting in the second quarter of next year, Cisco and HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., will add planning and implementation services for VOIP (voice over IP) and security. Later in the year, they will add those same services for optical and wireless networking.

Valero Energy Corp., which worked with Cisco and HP to install Cisco switches in about 1,000 of its retail service stations and convenience stores, finds the partnership compelling.

“We needed help from Cisco to get those switches configured,” said Shannon Ramsey, director of store automation for the company, in San Antonio. “Having both companies involved in the rollout of this technology was great. I would call Cisco and HP trusted partners.”

HP is the first, but likely not the last, large IT services provider to disclose its participation in Cisco’s Global Services Alliance program, which was launched in June. Cisco officials hinted that several more large service provider alliances will be announced at the end of next quarter.

The program for Cisco is an implementation of its vision to expand by showing customers how best to exploit advanced network services such as VOIP to improve productivity or create new revenue-generating opportunities.

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