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Posted by Andre Kindness on September 7, 2011
HP’s startling announcement, two weeks ago, to discontinue Touchpad and all webOS-based products, purchase Autonomy Corporation, and split off its PC divisions, caught the market off-guard. Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker feels the company could be the next Polaroid in the consumer products and mobile device war — a business that requires companies to be “much faster than a conglomerate can move in most circumstances.” The reality is this new strategic direction should not have surprised anyone who has read Leo’s résumé; it was the board’s intention to hire a strategic thinker who could evolve the company into a software and services organization by leveraging HP high-margin assets coupled with a few acquisitions. HP has one of the strongest orchestration software portfolios in the industry, which encapsulates everything from enhancing user experience through its APM solution all the way down to controlling Layer 2 through the Intelligent Management Center (IMC). With strategy toward creating and servicing cloud infrastructures, HP should examine what it has and figure out if its current networking portfolio differentiates the company, changes the way networking is done, and aligns HP’s networking division to HP’s strategic goals.
Three things I&O teams should think about when it comes to HP:
With HP’s partnerships, converged infrastructure, virtualized networking solutions, HP Labs OpenFlow innovation, and topnotch software orchestration tools, I&O professionals could create virtual network infrastructure that VMware could only dream to create, while aligning to HP’s software, services, and cloud strategy. HP’s VNI could offer I&O organizations a true alternative to:
The problem is HP had better get started soon. It’s only a matter of time before virtualized networking will be deployed. Already, the L4-L7 vendors have working solutions. As for L2-L3, current networking vendors (NEC, Extreme, etc.) are working with OpenFlow teams to create software controller-based solutions. New companies (Big Switch, Nicera) are being formed.
Do you think HP should try a different strategy? If they do come out with VNI solution, does HP still need the 20% hardware market share, mostly in the SMB space (based on ASP per port), to be considered a networking vendor? Does it matter who provides the commodity hardware if HP offers the management and control plane solution? If they do sell their hardware portion of networking, can they build network credibility off their services, ESS, and business software divisions?
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