Although Cisco and HP no longer have a cozy data center relationship, HP’s new $1 billion data center outsourcing deal with European insurance giant Aviva includes Cisco products.
The ten-year deal was struck between Aviva and EDS, HP’s IT outsourcing business. According to HP’s announcement of the deal, EDS will take over and modernize Aviva’s two UK-based data centers. Both HP and Cisco “will provide select tools, technologies and resources to EDS in support of Aviva,” the announcement stated.
As I’ve mentioned before, HP and Cisco useed to have a friendly relationship when it came to selling into enterprise data centers. HP sales reps often received incentives to sell Cisco networking gear along with HP servers, storage and software. But the data center landscape has changed in recent years. Cisco is increasingly moving in on HP’s territory with its Data Center 3.0 campaign and its rumored entry into the blade server market. Meanwhile, HP has renewed its focus on its networking division, ProCurve. It has launched its own purpose-built data center switches. Clearly these two companies will be battling for data center domination rather than cooperating with each other.
Although HP is trying to compete head-to-head with Cisco in data center networking, deals like Aviva are still going to happen. It’s unclear how much HP’s EDS division will push ProCurve gear over Cisco gear if it affects the EDS’s ability to win a big data center outsourcing deal like this. ProCurve is certainly making a name for itself, but it still lacks the high-performance 10 gigabit Ethernet switching pedigree that other companies such as Cisco, Foundry, Extreme and Force10 have.