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Ahmad said HP aims to help generate partner momentum with significant enterprise networking wins against Cisco.
If that isn't enough, HP is also emphasizing what it calls supply chain advantages with a networking product line based on "merchant silicon" technology rather than ASIC-based technology. "It is standards-based technology versus closed technology that obviously is hard to find," he said.
HP's claims of supply chain superiority comes as Cisco is grappling with the effects of supply chain issues that partners say has hammered the Cisco channel for much of the last year.
HP claims that standards-based merchant silicon is powering a networking product line that has 70 percent energy efficiency at 50 percent less cost with a "single operating system across our entire product line from edge to data center," said Ahmad.
HP is not sharing how many partners are currently certified on its full networking product line or even how many it hopes to add to its ranks by the end of the year.
Rauch, for his part, would only say that HP is not taking a scatter-shot approach to partner recruitment. "We want it to be extremely profitable and extremely predictable for the partners that are willing to step up," he said. "By the way, we are not going to dictate it [the number of partners]. We are going to put the bar high and those that are able to reach that bar will benefit."
Rauch said HP is poised to announce a number of networking customer and partner wins over the next several months.
One top VAR500 solution provider executive, who did not want to be identified, said he is anxious to hear more about the HP networking opportunity given the strong channel push by HP.
"We're more committed to HP than any other vendor," the executive said. "They have changed how they work with us. We used to fight each other on the hardware side of the business. Now we go in hand in hand. We have a deep relationship and they care."
That said, the CEO said he hopes that HP and Cisco do not force partners to choose one or the other. "This is still a customer-driven business," he said. "If they ask us to choose we all lose."