3Com partners await their fate

3Com partners await their fate

New HP channel communications flags integrated networking portfolio and expanded services and enablement support, but Australian partners question product strategy

HP is promising partners an integrated HP and 3Com portfolio, along with extensive services and enablement support, after officially completing its acquisition of the networking vendor.

According to a channel communication sent today, and sighted by ARN, partners can continue purchasing HP and 3Com products, as well as solutions from 3Com’s subsidiary H3C and TippingPoint divisions, in the same way they do currently. Support will be provided across both product lines, and partners can benefit from HP’s broader services portfolio and enablement programs, it said.

The vendor also stressed its commitment to full training and certification for partners to ensure they had adequate technical expertise and capability to consult on and implement HP-based networking systems and solutions. But although there are plans to integrate 3Com’s switching, routing, security, voice, wireless and network management products into its own line-up, HP is yet to detail which products will survive, and which will be dropped.

“The combined core-to-edge and datacentre solutions expand partner reach into new markets – from the Fortune 100 to small business – and create profitable new opportunities,” the HP email stated. “This next generation network portfolio, based on a modern, open standards architecture, restores partner flexibility to work with a wider range of vendors and create more robust solutions for their customers.”

The two organisations are expected to be integrated in Australia around June 1. While ASI Solutions plans to keep recommending 3Com products to its wireless networking and enterprise customers, its director, Maree Lowe, was less sure about the how the datacentre-oriented H3C stack would fit into the overall picture, and questioned HP’s mid-market play.

“Moving forward, what we have to understand as a partner is where the H3C product fits, as the pricing and specs are currently at the upward end of the scale,” she said. “What we have to decide is what recommendations to make to our middle market customers.”

ASI also sells Brocade offerings largely to its government customer base, but has significant corporate and education sites still requesting 3Com.

“There are potentially competing products that need to be worked through. I’d say we need advice on this and a positioning statement for our customer base in the next six weeks,” Lowe said.

3Com top-tier partner, Generation-e, is still waiting for details on how the two channels will be integrated. In the meantime, the integrator’s COO, Victor Khong, said it was investing in certifications and equipment to become a top-tier ProCurve partner.

But there were no plans to drop its existing IBM storage and server partnerships in favour of a more integrated HP stack, he said.

The latest update on 3Com coincides with HP’s global decision to open up its existing networking brand, ProCurve, to its other Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking (ESSN) distributors in Australia.

Questions have also been raised around what changes will be incurred by 3Com’s existing local distribution partners, Ingram Micro and 24/7 Distribution.

24/7, which also had an agreement with HP ProCurve, chose to put more emphasis on 3Com products in recent years, its managing director, Tony Geagea, said.

“We have continued to win good deals with 3Com products, so I am very interested in what is going to happen with that moving forward,” he said. “We are still waiting to hear which products are staying and which will go. I don’t think the local guys know yet.”

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