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Hewlett-Packard’s integration of the ProCurve networking solutions line into
its Technology Solutions Group is moving ProCurve upstream into the large
enterprise space, thrusting the former benchwarmer into the lineup and making
it a true player in the HP game.

Such a move also opens the playing field for HP solution providers to sell
ProCurve as part of an end-to-end enterprise solution instead of just as an
alternative to competing vendors such as Cisco Systems.

“Traditionally ProCurve has been perceived as a midmarket offering. Now
we’re expanding to be a large enterprise offering as well,” said Mark Thompson,
HP’s worldwide director of enterprise sales strategy. “As much as we continue
to invest in SMB and midmarket, we’re also now investing in large enterprise.”

That’s good news for solution providers, many of whom didn’t see HP’s logic
in having ProCurve act as a separate business unit. It also comes as Cisco
prepares to break out of its traditional switching and routing core and expand
into enterprise-class servers

“[The integration] is long overdue,” said Al Chien, vice president of sales
at Dasher Technologies, which has sold both TSG
and ProCurve offerings. “The consistent message [that exists] between ProCurve
and the rest of TSG … it makes a lot of
sense to have ProCurve as part of TSG. I
don’t think ProCurve was getting its fair share of airtime, so I think now
they’ll get more notoriety.”

With the integration, both TSG’s and
ProCurve’s respective resellers now have the ability to sell from both buckets,
which expands the business opportunity on both ends, Thompson said.

He added that other than the expansion of product offerings, partners should
see no real difference in the channel programs, a sentiment echoed by Dasher’s

“I’ve seen no significant changes so far,” he said. “Currently, there are
two separate lead sources and two separate integration tools, but the
integration will be complete by May 1, so I hope by then there will be one tool
instead of two.

“My big hope is that the integration will make things easier; I don’t want
to manage two programs. To have it as a fourth product line didn’t make a lot
of sense,” he added.

HP created TSG in 2004, combining
high-end hardware, software and services offerings into one division in an
effort to make itself and its partners more nimble against the likes of Dell
and IBM. It is the largest business segment
at HP, and includes server and storage hardware, technology consulting and
software sales.

ProCurve, meanwhile, focused mainly on the SMB and midmarket spaces,
disqualifying it from being a part of the new group. Rather, HP relied on
offerings from other vendors to fill out its networking line card.

Fast forward four years, and the ProCurve lineup has matured to the point
where it didn’t make sense for TSG to not
take advantage of its in-house product set.

“If you go back a couple years ago, ProCurve didn’t have the product
portfolio to do this,” said Don Wisdom, president of Datalink Networks. “Over
the last couple of years, it has developed a portfolio that still doesn’t
approach Cisco’s but is large enough to be released into the enterprise. Plus,
it has a compelling value story to it.”

“There is a tremendous excitement with our partners to see our investment in
positioning ProCurve as an important overall component of HP,” Thompson said,
adding that non-HP networking offerings will be replaced by ProCurve offerings.
“HP no longer looks at networking as something we get from someone else,” he

Thompson also noted that there should be no issue with channel conflict as
ProCurve moves fully into TSG. “Us joining TSG
didn’t change any programs, but it opened access to large accounts where HP has
a presence. Many still work through the channel,” he noted.

“At the end of the day, the customer will define what route they want to
purchase product through. It’s our job to make sure channel partners have what
they need to best service their customer.”