Internet-ready systems that make optimum use of bandwidth are the aim of a broad technology and marketing pact between Hewlett-Packard and Cisco.
The companies plan to collaborate in four areas: technology development, product integration, professional services and customer service in order to develop Internet-ready networked computing solutions. Analysts believe the move is important to establish HP's Internet credentials in a market where it has been slow to devise a strategy.
?Network devices are very demanding on bandwidth,? said Ilanah Ron, European Internet marketing manager at HP. "This alliance will allow IT managers inside corporations to achieve better support for data volume on the network. It will also be useful for ISPs.?
"HP has had trouble repositioning itself to capture the growth of the Internet,? said George O?Connor, senior analyst at IDC. The company has been doing Internet business but it needs to capture mind share. Its main rivals have all formed distinctive Internet stories - IBM with its networked computing story, Digital with Internet software and Alta Vista, and Sun with Java.
This is "almost a branding exercise" and probably the first of many alliances HP is likely to enter, believes O'Connor, although, with the experience of both players in their market areas, he is also "sure we will see some follow through from this alliance?.
The pact covers Windows NT and Unix-based systems, and the companies will focus on three main areas - enterprise-wide databases, Intranets and electronic commerce. Specifically they will collaborate on standard protocols, including the Resource Reservation Protocol, for applications and network service, as well as on Internet security protocols. Cisco?s IOS software platform will also become the standard for HP?s enterprise offerings while Cisco will endorse HP as its preferred partner.
At the end of next summer Cisco will provide gigabit Ethernet chips for HP network interface cards, to connect the HP 9000 Enterprise Server family to high speed network backbones. The companies will also develop interfaces for Web-based integrated systems and network management, which will be added to HP?s Openview and Cisco?s Cisco Works software.
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