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HP targets Cisco Catalyst base

Offers incentive program to trade-in switches for HP gear

HP launched a trade-in program aimed at Cisco customers with an aging infrastructure. HP Networking's "A Catalyst for Change" Cisco trade-in promotion entices candidates to migrate to an HP infrastructure with an upfront 20% discount off the list price of its switches.

HP estimates that nearly $9 billion in Cisco networking equipment is approaching end of life or service in 2011.  Citing data from market researcher IDC, HP claims its products provide up to 66% lower total cost of ownership over Cisco gear.  

To qualify for the 20% discount on HP A-Series and E-Series switches, Cisco customers must trade-in eligible Cisco Catalyst 2960/S, 3560/E or X, 3750/E or X, 4500 E, 4900 or 6500 series switches, as well as Nexus 5000 or 7000 series switches. To smooth the transition, HP claims "proven" interoperability with Cisco gear, as well as planning and migration services, and fast-track certification training.

HP unveiled its ExpertONE fast-track certification training program two months ago.

The trade-in program and the fast-track certification process are merely the latest salvos HP's launched against Cisco since Cisco invaded HP's hallowed data center server business and publicly declared it a new competitor even though the two had been longtime partners. HP has essentially assumed the mantle of being the premier networking vendor at trade shows and conferences like Interop, and only viable alternative to Cisco in Ethernet switching; it also acquired 3Com to boost its market share and breadth of its product portfolio; and has never passed up an opportunity to bash Cisco's Unified Computing System platform for data centers.

Poaching of a rival's customers is nothing new in the industry. F5, Enterasys, Extreme and Juniper were looking to attract enterprise networking customers resellers of Nortel Networks after Nortel had filed for bankruptcy.  HP and IBM are going after Sun server customers following Oracle's purchase of Sun.

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