Alcatel-Lucent and HP have formed a global alliance to deliver converged network and IT strategies to service providers and enterprises, perhaps the most direct validation yet presented of the service layer trends we’ve been discussing for the last year. The alliance will include integration/management services, as well as products. It is aimed at the increased buyer interest in containing vendors involved in deals and assigning key vendors overall responsibility.
In a competitive sense, it’s aimed at both Cisco and IBM, who have been increasingly offering integrated IT/network strategies. This sort of alliance is likely to eventually lead to M&A, though we don’t think Alcatel-Lucent and HP have any mutual intentions. While this is good for the buyer and the market, in the sense that it’s responsive to strategic trends, it shows that network vendors are increasingly facing commoditization at the transport/connection layer because the action is moving up the stack.