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VMworld Conference: HP Servers Out, Cisco Servers In?

Channel sources said that Cisco will replace HP as the primary server provider at the upcoming VMworld conference as part of an aggressive push to show its UCS technology, but VMware said equipment lists are not finalized.

server

Channel sources and a VMware spokesperson said on Friday that Cisco will be providing servers from its UCS platform for use at VMworld.

Cisco in March unveiled its UCS strategy which seeks to combine server, storage, virtualization and networking capabilities in an integrated package that the company said will make data centers more flexible, efficient and cost-effective.

One large Cisco and Hewlett-Packard VAR said that HP has been "shut out of VMworld."

That VAR, who asked to remain anonymous, said instead of leading with HP servers in the VMworld data center, the show will rely on several Cisco UCS servers.

"Cisco is creating a market and creating a buzz," that VAR said, adding that Cisco has been aggressive in marketing and pushing UCS, despite only selling it through 20 or so partners currently and only planning to ship about 200 UCS systems by the end of 2009.

The solution provider added that UCS provides price-performance offering on par with HP's offerings and has "taken a great leap forward to increase ROI and cut TCO" with UCS.

Another Cisco solution provider said that the vendor is making a big push with UCS, and part of that push is getting in front of VMware customers by being the server provider to the VMworld conference.

"Cisco is making an extremely aggressive play to seed their server infrastructure into existing accounts," the solution provider said. "With Cisco's marketing power and financing, they will be successful. But it's not going into production environments yet. Like VMware in the beginning, customers are trying it for test and development environments."

HP did not respond to questions about its presense at VMworld.

A Cisco spokesperson said only that Cisco will be providing equipment for VMworld, but could not comment on server other vendors' plans.

A VMware spokesperson said that every year the company approaches its partners to ask if they would like to provide gear, and that HP last year provided hardware to use in the labs set up at the conference.

Cisco this year decided it wanted to provide servers, and HP, while welcome to provide equipment, has yet to respond whether it wants to do so, the VMware spokesperson said. However, the spokesperson said, the equipment setup for the conference has yet to be finalized.

A major presence for Cisco with UCS at VMworld would not be unexpected. Cisco was a prominent presenter at the VMware Partner Summit in April.

Cisco also worked side-by-side with VMware and EMC, which owns about 85 percent of VMware, at the EMC World conference in May.

Andrew Hickey contributed to this article.

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