Hewlett Packard's services division has signed a deal to use Cisco's wireless LAN kit - snubbing its own Procurve products.
HP Services has launched a systems integration practice that will plan and build "pervasive" WLANs for companies, putting uniform wireless networks in all departments of large user companies. However it has decided to go with Cisco hardware and software instead of buying from HP's Procurve networking division, which has been competing with Cisco in the LAN switch market, and launched a spanking-new wireless LAN system of its own in May (read Techworld's review here), designed specifically to counter Cisco's WLAN products.
Cisco and HP have worked together for some years, according to press releases from Cisco and HP. However, during that time, HP's Procurve division has been building credibility, competing with Cisco and extending to larger switches.
So why use Cisco and not Procurve? The official line is that HP "maintains relationships with a wide range of business partners" and ProCurve and Cisco are no exceptions. "The past few years have proven that HP’s ProCurve networking business and the Cisco partnership can profitability co-exist," an HP spokesman told us. "HP’s relationship with Cisco does not have a direct impact regarding direction or decisions regarding the ProCurve business."
In reality, of course, HP Services has made the choice, because that's what large customers want from an outfit of that kind, and it's gone for a large established brand for the same reason. The networks in question will support applications such as security, location-based services, voice and guest access to WLANs.
But Procurve may also have been snubbed because of internal politics and product specifications: the division has fought to establish the Procurve brand's independence, which allows it to compete more directly with other switch vendors. Also, its wireless switch is a recent addition, and HP Services may have felt it is unproven.