October 17, 2011 – Although typically rivals in the data center space, HP and Cisco announced a team up on a solution for connecting networking architectures.

HP and Cisco co-engineered Cisco Fabric Extender for HP BladeSystem, which connects Cisco’s Unified Fabric networking solution with HP’s BladeSystem data center infrastructure. The solution features capabilities for delivery of mission-critical applications on multiple server links, network provisioning from Cisco’s Nexus switch to up to two-dozen extenders and consolidated migration paths from 1GbE to 10GbE networks.

Executives from both vendors touted the respective benefits to customers in a news release, with a focus on cost reductions in networking connections and the ability to keep investments in data center technology in place from HP and Cisco.  

“BladeSystem customers are looking to HP for solutions that easily integrate into existing environments,” said Jim Ganthier, HP vice president of marketing, industry standard servers, in a news release.

Over the last few years, the two vendors have outwardly jockeyed for a leg up in markets where the other is strongly positioned. HP recently announcing new client networking and Cisco heavily invested in a deeper data center and virtualization strategy. Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research, says that even with the recent elbowing for room in the data center and networking areas between HP and Cisco, both can gain from consolidating resources on certain efforts where they’re best suited, like the new solution.

“Both firms face declining revenues and can benefit more from a partnership that aligns their sales forces and clients,” says Wang.