Hewlett-Packard disclosed today that it has begun selling stackable QLogic Corp.-developed 8Gbit/sec Fibre Channel switches that are targeted for use at remote offices and corporate departments.
The QLogic switches have 20 8Gbit/sec Fibre Channel ports and can be stacked in groups of up to six to create a high-end offering with 120 8Gbit/sec Fibre Channel ports along with up to 24 20Gbit/sec interswitch link ports.
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At least one industry observer believes that HP's decision to sign a deal with QLogic indicates that tensions are rising between HP and another key partner, Cisco Systems Inc. Dave Vellante, co-founder and principal contributor to Wikibon.org, an online, Wiki-based community of storage practitioners, consultants and researchers, notes that Cisco recently started competing with systems vendors like HP by coming out with its own server offering.
"HP is taking the high road saying whatever the customer wants they'll deliver. My take is HP is really saying 'screw you, Cisco' behind closed doors," Vellante said.
Additionally, one industry source said that HP's StorageWorks division may have eliminated Cisco Relationship Manager positions. Charles Vallhonrat, product marketing manager for HP's StorageWorks Division, said he did not know if that was true.
"We have a long history of partnering. We've had QLogic switches in the product line for a couple years now. This is adding additional capabilities to our portfolio," Vallhonrat said. "We do still partner with Brocade and Cisco."
Rumors are also circulating on the Web that Cisco no longer counts HP as a certified reseller partner.
Cisco did not reply by presstime to a request for information concerning its relationship with HP.
"This whole thing is very interesting to me because Cisco has grown so large and dominant that it is able to dictate certain terms, but HP is such a powerhouse [that] they're saying - you know what, we're HP and we don't need to bow to anyone," Vellante said.
HP said today it is now reselling QLogic's 5800V and 5802V Series 8Gbit/sec FC switches, which it is branding HP StorageWorks SN6000 Stackable 8Gb FC Switches, as part of its scalable SAN solutions.
The switches can be used with HP server and storage products like HP BladeSystem Virtual Connect, HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) and HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) systems.
The SN6000 series switches have dedicated 10Gbit/sec interlink switch ports for connecting additional switches and increasing port counts. The 10Gbit/sec port can also be upgraded to 20Gbit/sec.
HP, which also resells switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc., does not offer Cisco 8Gbit/sec Fibre Channel switches. The computer maker does resell Cisco 4Gbit/sec Fibre Channel switches, including a 24-port non-stackable switch (model 9124) and a 32-port stackable version (model 9134), as part of its C-Series switch line.