Cisco and IBM are expanding a joint support agreement from the US to 46 other markets, including the UK.

Through the offering, called Managed Maintenance Solutions (MMS) for Cisco Products, enterprises that use IBM as a systems integrator can get Cisco technical support by calling IBM. Cisco has a worldwide technical support organisation but is not a systems integrator.

It is designed to simplify IT administrators' jobs and prevent them from having to choose between turning to Cisco or IBM for help, said Cisco spokeswoman Mandy Knotts.

The companies began working together on support three years ago as part of the Cisco Global Services Alliance, Knotts said. Over time they developed the MMS offering, which so far has been available only in the US, Knotts said.

It is now being expanded to markets in Europe and Asia, including the UK, France, Germany, China, Australia, South Korea and India, as well as Canada.

Customers with MMS can make all their calls for Cisco technical support through the IBM Technical Support Center, which can provide network specialists trained by Cisco.

The service also includes escalation of issues to Cisco Technical Assistance, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, plus operating system updates and hardware replacement, according to Cisco.