HP is a market leader in servers and storage, and in the last few years was making headway in the networking market with its ProCurve line even while working with Cisco as a close partner, a move which probably pushed Cisco to enter the server market.
HP has the advantage over other converged infrastructure vendors in that it has server, storage, and networking product lines. And HP is used to battling with competitors using low margins, lots of services, and a huge solution provider base.
However, HP’s networking offering still lags that of Cisco despite HP’s acquisition of networking vendor 3Com. Also, HP’s top virtualization partner, VMware, is working closely with Cisco, pushing HP to work closer with Microsoft.