Cisco's Borderless Networks vs. HP's Converged Infrastructure

Oh, the humanity! Their battle extends from data center to branch, and beyond

Cisco and HP this week took their rivalry to the branch office. Each announced, separately but simultaneously, broad extensions to their switching and routing portfolios to improve application delivery and performance between data centers and branch offices.

So in effect, Cisco and HP are extending their rivalry from the data center - where Cisco stepped on HP's toes with a blade server and HP responded by acquiring 3Com and its data center switches and removing Cisco's from its own - to the remote site. This is getting serious.

For its part, Cisco this week launched several products under its nebulous Borderless Networks umbrella. Somewhere, somehow - over the rainbow, perhaps - Borderless Networks will enable anytime access to anything anywhere for anyone from any device.

Cisco rolled out a 848Gbps upgrade to its Catalyst 4500E switch, taking that platform past the higher-end and even older Catalyst 6500. This upgrade prompts speculation that a similar enhancement is coming soon for the 720Gbps Catalyst 6500, perhaps in the form of a 1.44Tbps supervisor engine.

Cisco also unveiled a 1RU ASR 1001 edge router for the Borderless enterprise that can scale from 2.5G to 5G on demand, and an ASA 5585-X firewall fortified for hefty data center duty.

HP had a sweeping array of new and enhanced products itself, across its networking, compute and security portfolios. Chief among them was AllianceONE modules for its E5400zl switch that incorporate functions from HP's list of top-shelf partners - Microsoft, Avaya, Riverbed, Citrix, etc. - so users won't have to buy separate boxes or appliances for those capabilities.

HP also unveiled a new TippingPoint security service, a modular ProLiant server system, and an easy-to-assemble data center capacity extender call POD Works. HP rolled out these extensions under its own nifty Converged Infrastructure umbrella that, while not as seemingly comprehensive as Borderless Networks, ambitiously aims to consolidate servers, storage, networking and software.

So the battle between Cisco and HP has not only extended from the data center out to the branch office; it's engaged the marketectures as well. It will be bloody indeed.

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