HP takes swipes at Cisco on Interop stage

LAS VEGAS -- It's not often HP and Cisco share the same stage during a keynote address. But today at Interop that's exactly what they did -- and HP didn't share the stage nicely.

Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of HP's enterprise servers, storage and networking division used the keynote as an opportunity to lambast Cisco's incumbency in switching and routing as an impediment to innovation and an opportunity for Cisco to introduce complexity and high cost.

"Network has had the least amount of innovation over the past decade" of computing, Donatelli charged during his address. "HP wants to transform networking."

SPEAKING OF LEGACY: Celebrating the networked world: Network World's 25th Anniversary

With that, Donatelli cited a study that found that 75 per cent of 90 Cisco resellers, accounting for $5 billion in revenue, now consider HP a "part of the discussion" in sales opportunities. The study also found that 29 per cent of those resellers say HP is influencing deal terms.

Donatelli then took the audience for a spin through HP's FlexNetwork architecture and product line, which the company introduced yesterday, pinpointing areas where HP claimed superior value over Cisco: an intrusion prevention system that found 309 vulnerabilities vs. one for a Cisco 4270 appliance in independent testing; 30 Cisco management tools that can be replaced by one HP system; and 1,000 Cisco devices that can be managed by that HP system.

"We managed Cisco better than Cisco," Donatelli crowed.

Cisco's appearance was much more benign. CIO Rebecca Jacoby gave an overview of the value that IT is expected to provide to business in the era of cloud computing and collaboration.

She described Cisco's own private cloud environment -- Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS) -- and the benefits the company is realizing through its virtualization capabilities: the migration of 57 per cent of Cisco's 1,300 business applications into CITEIS; a 37 per cent improvement in total cost of ownership; an additional 27 per cent improvement when Cisco's Unified Computing System was deployed; an 80 per cent reduction in rack space and a 67 per cent reduction in power consumption for certain applications.

Cisco wasn't even using virtualization when Jacoby became CIO four years ago, she says.

In collaboration, where Cisco's TelePresence videoconferencing technology is a key piece, Jacoby claims a banking customer with 250 branches enabled by Cisco's Medianet video architecture saw a 70 per cent return rate for customers vs. 30 per cent when immediate "face time" was available through video.

That same bank saw 78 times the return on its Medianet investment over three years due to customer retention and other benefits, she said.

"This is a huge business advantage," Jacoby said.

Sandwiched between Jacoby and Donatelli was a chat between Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the Internet, and Dan Lynch, founder of Interop, to commemorate the conference's 25th anniversary. Lynch and Cerf waxed nostalgic on the early years of development and deployment of the Internet and the TCP/IP protocol with plenty of inside joking and jostling.

Lynch recalled pushing the boundaries of his organization's computer usage guidelines while testing protocols later used on the Internet.

"Thank God for breaking the rules," he quipped.

Also sharing the stage during the Interop keynote was Mark Templeton, CEO of Citrix, who gave an overview of the company's NetScaler SDX product and the AppFlow application service delivery technique for the cloud.

Templeton said the industry, with momentum from tech-savvy consumers, is moving from the rigid PC Era into the more flexible Cloud Era.

"The consumerization of IT will force more change over the next 10 years than any other trend we're seeing," Templeton said.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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