Cisco returns fire in war of words with HP

Responds to HP's dismissal of the Catalyst 6500 Sup 2T

Well, that didn't take long. Cisco lobbed the latest volley in the war of words with HP over each company's switching portfolio.

Last week, when Cisco announced the Supervisor 2T engine for the Catalyst 6500, it claimed the switch was 3X the performance of HP's A9508 at 1/3 the cost. HP unleashed with this rebuttal, which essentially claimed Cisco was doing customers a disservice through misleading and inappropriate comparisons.

Cisco fired back late last week in a blog post by Scott Gainey, Cisco director of marketing for Unified Access Solutions. In it, he pardons Cisco's response to "rumor, speculation, or just plain nonsense," and then goes on to dismiss HP's counterclaims as "blatantly misleading information."

First, Cisco emphatically stands behind the claim of 3x the performance at 1/3 the price when you compare a simple upgrade of Catalyst 6500 versus HP's A9500.  HP is suggesting we should instead be comparing the Catalyst 6500 against their replacement platform, the A10500.  We're perfectly happy to do this but we found it's really hard to do a comparison with a product that doesn't yet exist.  Don't believe us?  Go look at the HP web site.  You won't find any details to support HP's claims.  Yes, HP did 'launch' the A10500 in May, but it still hasn't been posted to their configuration tool, nor does it appear anywhere on their networking product pages.  So is the A10500 real, or is it just marketing until it gets off the factory floor?

Gainey then goes on to refute other HP claims, like these: that the Catalyst 6500-E series chassis, which is the chassis that will house the Sup 2T, has only been around for a few months (Gainey says it's been around for seven years and is present in 80% of the Catalyst 6500 installed base); that a line card upgrade is required to configure Sup 2T as a redundant Virtual Switching System (Gainey says Sup 2T uplinks are VSS capable); and that the decade-old Catalyst 6500 lacks innovation (Gainey claims it gathered 500 patents during that decade of service).

Gainey goes on to note that the Sup 2T is shipping in volume now, and that HP's share gains in Q1 are misleading because networking share gains are measured over years, not quarters.

He took the opportunity to slip in Cisco's catchphrase for non-Cisco networking equipment in general, and HP's switches in particular:

Hollow promises are not "good enough," HP.

Lastly, Gainey notes that the Catalyst 6500 Sup 2T was the backbone for last week's Cisco Live! customer conference network in Las Vegas.

Lock and load, HP...

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