Force10 Launches Promotion To Exploit HP-Cisco Rift

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Force10 this week kicked off "C300 Play-To-Win," a promotion through which Force10 will offer its C-Series C300 switches at reduced prices to VARs looking for alternatives to Cisco gear.

Specifically, Force10 is positioning itself against Cisco's Catalyst 6509 portfolio, insisting that its C300 chassis outguns Catalyst's density and switching performance and is ideal for "HP resellers to continue to offer a standards-based alternative to Cisco," according to a company statement.

"We've seen ongoing channel disruption since Cisco introduced its Unified Computing System/blade server technology in 2009," said Andrew Stewart, vice president of worldwide channels and sales operations at Force10, in the statement. "It intensified this week with the announcement that Cisco will terminate its channel alliance with HP. We see a fast-emerging opportunity to build relationships with partners that now need an alternative to Cisco."

Force10 did not confirm the reduced pricing, instead urging prospective VARs to contact it through its partner portal. VARs that generate more than $1 million in qualified C300 net switch sales can receive an additional 10 percent rebate, according to Force10, and the program will run through September.

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Force10 did not respond to a request for additional comment.

Cisco last week said it would not be renewing HP's longstanding reseller agreement with Cisco when it expires at the end of April, announcing the move in a blog post by Cisco Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels Keith Goodwin.

"Over the last few years our relationship with HP has evolved from a partner to companies with different and conflicting visions of how to deliver value to customers," Goodwin wrote. "Despite this shift in industry dynamics, HP had remained a Cisco Certified Channel Partner. Being a Cisco Certified Channel Partner has numerous benefits including access to proprietary information (such as product road maps) and partner profitability initiatives. Given the evolution of our relationship it simply no longer makes sense to provide these benefits to HP."