Cisco, HP Collaborate on Fabric Extender

Rivals HP and Cisco can still work together when their interests align. On Friday they announced the Cisco Fabric Extender for HP BladeSystem,

Rich Miller

October 17, 2011

2 Min Read
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Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. It's new hardware with both the HP and Cisco logos, co-engineered by the two rivals.

Are Cisco and HP rivals? Or partners? The two IT giants have been fierce competitors of late, but on Friday they showed that they can still work together when their interests align. HP and Cisco announced the Cisco Fabric Extender for HP BladeSystem, also known as the Cisco Nexus B22 Fabric Extender (FEX) for HP.

The new product, co-engineered by HP and Cisco, allows customers to easily connect and configure their HP BladeSystem c-Class infrastructure and Cisco Unified Fabric. Here's a look at some of the notable commentary on Friday's announcement:

  • Cisco Blog - Sashi Kiran from Cisco: "The Cisco Fabric Extender for HP BladeSystem was not designed to compete with either company’s offerings. Its purpose is to allow our customers the freedom to mix HP server blades with Cisco Networking. Customers are free to evaluate the merits of other HP and Cisco offerings and determine the best products for their needs."

  • Network World - It's a curious collaboration, considering that Cisco and HP have become very vocal rivals since Cisco's entry into the data center server market and HP's acquisition of networking pioneer 3Com. Indeed, it would seem to undermine both companies' respective efforts in those market expansions. And HP is a leading provider of blade switches for data center servers. "I'm a little surprised," says Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. "I thought they would have gone to anyone but Cisco."

  • CRN - Wendy Bahr, senior vice president of Cisco's Global Strategic Partner Organization, acknowledged that the collaboration with HP is an eyebrow-raiser, especially given the steely competitive rhetoric that's been going back and forth between HP and Cisco all year long. The truth is, however, that a lot of enterprise customers have both HP and Cisco in their data center environments, Bahr said. It makes sense for those customers and for the solution providers that serve them to preserve those investments, and make money for everyone in the process.

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