Historically, the major appeal of the HP ProCurve line was its low total cost of ownership. The lifetime warranty that HP applied to most of the ProCurve products was very straightforward. You buy it, we guarantee the thing will work for as long as you own it and will provide technical support forever. No need for expensive support contracts. I’ve heard from more than one network manager who said they switched from Cisco to HP ProCurve because the lower TCO was too tempting to pass up.
When HP bought 3Com and its young but promising sub-brand of H3C, it was hard to imagine that all of the high end 3Com products would find their way under the umbrella of HP’s lifetime warranty approach. And judging from this chart, that’s exactly the case.
You’ll find that the fixed-configuration H3C switches have been moved into the lifetime warranty program, including the A5810, A5800, A5500, A3600 and A3100 switches (Back in their H3C days, these switches started with the letter “S” rather than “A”).
The modular H3C switches are a different story. The big A12500 and A9500 chassis switches and the smaller A7500 and A5820 modular switches all have one-year warranties, with lifetime software and OS maintenance coverage and one year of free technical support.
The 3Com fixed-configuration switches, such as the E5500, E4800G, E4500G and E4200G are all covered under the lifetime warranty.
It looks like most of the TippingPoint network security products (IPS appliances, gateways and firewalls) will have one-year warranties.
Some folks worried that the old ProCurve lifetime warranty would disappear with the 3Com acquisition. It appears to remain in effect for the most part. It’s just not as broad as it used to be.]]>
Although HP missed buying Brocade, acquiring 3Com proves more compatible and powerful. For one, both vendors share a similar vision: interoperability and compatibility. In the HP to acquire 3Com conference call, HP’s 3Com acquisition was considered an accelerator to its “converged infrastructure strategy.” On the other side, the very name of 3Com (computers, communication and compatibility) echoes HP’s voice on converged infrastructure strategy.
Both vendors’ strengths also reside in Asian markets. HP’s 3Com acquisition will mean domination in China’s IT market share, a highly-valued strategic asset. (See HP-3Com acquisition hits Cisco the one place it hurts.) The shared market is seen as an upside, said Dave Donatelli, EVP and general manager of enterprise servers and networking. This is due to contrasting accounts which will further increase its position in China.
While the companies share a great deal (including offices in Marlborough and Silicon Valley), what differs is the game changer. 3Com’s portfolio has populated HP’s non-existent core networking infrastructure technology. These technologies will bring strength to its data center switching solutions.
“[3Com] broadens our entire capabilities. One of the biggest questions[/concerns] we’ve had from customers has been ‘We like your edge product, but we need you to be able to play across our entire networking infrastructure,’ and this acquisition enables us to do this — adding core switching, routing and security products to us,” said Donatelli.
In addition to 3Com’s core and edge routing, 3Com will offer its threat management, intrusion prevention and data center security solutions in what was HP’s weaker product portfolio.
With differing solutions being added to HP’s portfolio, there is hope that few layoffs will occur. However, comments across several websites (such as Twilight in the Valley of the Nerds’ HP’s 3Com acquisition post, Engadget’s HP to acquire 3Com in $2.7 billion deal story and The Metro West Daily News’ Marlborough’s 3Com to be sold $2.7B article) express fear of an addition to the rising U.S. unemployment rate.]]>
3Com controls 32% of the Chinese networking market (with $700 million in revenue) and has held Cisco at a dead heat there – something no other networking company has been able to do in other markets. If the acquisition goes through, HP would have a tighter grasp on that market – and a more complete portfolio with which to battle Cisco globally.
“I think this is 75% about geographic market acquisition (in China in particular) and 25% about product acquisition,” said Robert Whiteley, a Forrester Research director.
On the technology front, HP’s ProCurve chief Marius Haas said the acquisition would give HP an “edge-to-data-center core” portfolio and he promised barely any overlap between the two product lines.
That, in fact, won’t likely be the case since both have extensive and similar switching lines.
A more likely scenario is that HP – which has the most successful edge switch in terms of sales – will scrap its own core switching line, replacing it with 3Com’s H3C product.
“ProCurve built its own core switch a few years back, but it wasn’t gaining a lot of traction. With 3Com they get a much more scalable switch that is a better fit for high-end datacenter and cloud networking initiatives,” Whiteley said.
3Com will also bring a router story to the table.
“ProCurve never really had routers, so the H3C assets will help here again. I don’t think this is as big a deal, since the majority of enterprise refresh is on L3 switches, which are more relevant in the datacenter, and where Cisco doesn’t have quite the stranglehold it does on router,” Whiteley said.
The companies would not say Wednesday which, if either, of the ProCurve or 3Com H3C labels would be shuttered. Either way, the core and edge networking components would obviously be coupled with HP’s data center servers, giving Cisco a run for its money on that front too.
The two companies also swung at Juniper Networks, which consistently sells its components on being more economically efficient in operating costs because they run on one joint operating system – JUNOS. 3Com’s components were also engineered in-house and therefore share one operating system, said 3Com President and COO Ron Sege said, adding that the motto on the OS is, “Learn once and support many.”
In the same breath, Sege also promised that 3Com and HP together would provide networking equipment that wouldn’t be proprietary like Cisco’s causing vendor lock-in. It’s difficult, however, to sell a portfolio on having a joint OS if users aren’t being asked to buy into a one-vendor system.
3Com also brings its Tipping Point security line to the table, which brings HP in line with Cisco and Juniper on that front.
The acquisition is pending regulatory review.]]>