Quick Alert: HP and Brocade; “…Be Nice Until It’s Time to Not Be Nice…”

The HP Technology Forum 2010 is in full swing as HP and Brocade continue to “be nice” and reaffirm their decade old partnership.  According to Brocade’s press release, “…Brocade and HP enjoy the largest SAN customer base with over 3.5 million HP B-series ports installed.”  Note: HP OEM’s Brocade’s technology under the HP StorageWorks brand.

What did they announce? A new 64-port 8Gbps Fibre Channel module for HP’s StorageWorks SAN switches, a new host bus adapter card for HP’s BladeSystem C-class servers, and a the availability of HP StorageWorks P2000 G3 Smart Array that creates a deployment ready bundle of storage arrays, SAN switches, and HBAs.

Brocade has a two-pronged strategy: Arm the likes of HP and IBM with OEM’d products and provide a competitive vision of the next generation data center within Brocade One.  This “have your cake and eat it too” strategy is needed to combat Brocade’s largest rivals while shielding them from Cisco.  However, whatever revenue benefits this brings Brocade in the short-term may be overshadowed by an inevitable showdown between Brocade Foundry and HP ProCurve in the long-term.  After all, if you are Brocade you don’t spend $3 billion on Foundry Networks to play third or fourth fiddle and if you are HP you don’t spend $2.7 billion on 3Com to “margin share” with an OEM.

In the end, I’m reminded of a scene in Road House where Dalton says; “I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.”  And how will you know when not to be nice?  When Mark Hurd says so.

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