HP ProCurve Partner Network Grows
Hewlett-Packard’s ProCurve division has expanded its Open Network Ecosystem (ONE) by more than five new vendors, further positioning itself as a one-stop shop for its channel partners. ProCurve ONE, combined with HP’s pending buyout of 3Com, are the latest steps in HP’s efforts to compete more effectively against Cisco Systems. Here are the details.
New additions to ProCurve ONE include Aastra, AeroScout, Avaya, F5, Fortinet, SonicWall, Sourcefire, StillSecure, Traversa Solutions and vantronix. Their technology runs the gamut from communications to Wi-Fi to security services, and all have the distinction of being compatible with the ProCurve networking solution set.
This brings the total of vendors participating in ONE to an impressive 21 – impressive considering ONE was launched less than a year ago. The program is based on HP ProCurve’s Adaptive Networks vision, in which networks adapt to users’ needs, not the other way around (as has been the case since forever). Hence, rather than one vendor providing one technology, the Open Network Ecosystem provides a bevy of vendors and technology to enable channel partners to build networks according to customer demands.
And the technology that provides the backbone of the effort – the ProCurve family of networking hardware – is solid stuff. In the past year, HP has beefed up its portfolio with enterprise and carrier-class switches that hold their own against other networking vendors. The open architecture of the hardware supports the ecosystem very well: the switch chassis include room for a module that holds the alliance vendor’s application, actually incorporating it into the network fabric rather than adding it on as an extension. “It’s more beneficial to have the application residing in the network fabric from an operational standpoint and from a power perspective,” said Frank Cohen, HP’s director of worldwide strategic alliances.
To be a ProCurve channel partner does not automatically grant access to sell the ecosystem partners’ technology, however. Partners must become certified through the vendor to sell and support the technology. However, Cohen noted, many ProCurve partners already are certified with at least one ecosystem partner.
In building these alliances, HP is selecting vendors that are best in their class and leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, Cohen said. The company has taken steps to recruit more than one vertical, such as communications for example. “We’re basically doing the legwork for [our partners],” he noted. “But, that said, if we’re only selecting one company in each area, we’d be limiting our partners. Instead, we want to provide options. What may serve a need for one customer may not work for another, so we will represent all of our ecosystem partners equally and help our channel partners determine which is the best solution for them.”
ProCurve ONE is an interesting concept that, for many solution providers overwhelmed with so many new technology options, could provide a much-needed helping hand. Open architecture is the natural migration path for networking; HP seems to be providing the helpful travel tips.
Still, Cisco isn’t standing still. In fact, Cisco is said to be mulling a close partnership with Lenovo, creating a potential one-two punch that counters HP’s networking and PC businesses.