HP Networking had some announcements today at InterOp. It was a big media event with cameras, live broadcasts, and some interesting industry figures are in the room. Here’s my take on the strategy, I’ll post some more on the actual product announcements in a separate post.
The new “strategy” from HP involves the word Flexi an awful lot. Given that there has a been a lot of marketing around FlexModules and FlexConnect it kind of makes sense. This slide sums it up.
What I perceive is that HP Networking is extending their message to say that they have products to fit more, or even all, of the market categories. In particular, the “FlexCampus” term is new and meant to convey that they now have products that fit the Campus networking category. Of course, they always did, that’s exactly what was they did – the A10500 switch was announced with some supporting access layer products.
If you are steeped in Marketing speak, then this slide is helpful. It shows the positioning of each product family into a market segment in the way that HP wants you to think.
FlexFabric = DataCenter – so lots of virtualization support, IRF, Tipping Point Secure Virtualization Framework.
FlexCampus – Campus – today we are looking for STP/MSTP/RSTP support at a price point that fills the switching closets with lots of high density Ethernet.
FlexBranch – WAN routers, edge switches.
What’s new here is that products for Campus have been beefed up with the A10500 switch. more on that later.
I liked the fact that HP is basically taking shots at Cisco’s marketing position, it’s clear and direct – refreshing. Several of these do strike home because there is a lot of truth in them. I don’t think that it’s Cisco bashing to pick out weakest points of a competitor. After all, Cisco has left a lot of gaps in their portfolio by being slow to market, and haven’t been adding value to their equipment for the last five years.
This is a good visual summary of the elements of the strategy – Data Centre, Campus and WAN/Branch. Couple of interesting points:
- Security is embedded into the products ie. there isn’t a separate security portfolio.
- I’m not clear on how this is “agile”. What is it that makes HP Networking products more agile than other products ?
- For HP, “Open” means published standards. I find it frustrating that HP won’t talk about planned products or futures. It’s impossible to establish a forward-looking strategy based on HP products. On the other hand, when HP ships a product, it’s complete and defined.
HP Networking wants you to think that they are growing fast and making inroads into customer. All evidence suggests that there are large deals and good sales volumes. However a twenty times increase in routing might mean that they weren’t selling much in the first place, so I’m going to mark this as “going well” rather than “oooh wheee”.
The EtherealMind View
HP continues to impress. Let me qualify that by saying that the HP Networking story remains patchy. Regardless of the hardware and strategy, the one product absolute standout product from HP Networking is the IMC network management platform. Intelligent Management Center (IMC) V5.0 got another plug, and I’m seeing some real innovation and commitment here.
Not only does IMC manage HP Networking gear, but manages other vendors. And, from the demos, goes into a lot of depth – it’s not just reading the SNMPv2 vendor product MIB, it’s able to configure MPLS, VLANs, authentication and much more. I hop that HP Networking continues to invest in IMC, it’s got potential to build enormous customer loyalty.
HP Networking have paid for my travel and accommodation for Interop so that I am able to attend the briefing, meet executives and have good quality discussions. I’d like to think that my opinions and views are my own. I am not remunerated in any other way.