Telecoms & Networks News South Africa

HPE takes aim at Cisco, emphasises partner ecosystem and AI focus

When Matt Harris, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) senior vice president and MD for UK, Ireland, Middle East said took to the local Partner Festival stage, not many expected him to say the quite part out loud. “I need to be really clear… We believe there is fatigue in the market around infrastructure. Cisco has had a dominant position for 20 years… we can challenge them directly.” HPE is making bold moves to challenge Cisco's dominance in the networking market.
HPE SVP and MD of UKIMEA, Matt Harris, celebrating International Women's Day in 2024.
HPE SVP and MD of UKIMEA, Matt Harris, celebrating International Women's Day in 2024.

HPE's acquisition of Juniper Networks in a $14bn cash deal is expected to close in early 2025, combined with its capabilities in Aruba is the fuel behind his fire.

"We will double the size of our networking business in January," Harris announced.

This move will provide a strong alternative to Cisco's dominant position. The combined strengths of Aruba's cloud-managed networking and Juniper's AI-driven operations and security will create a compelling value proposition for customers seeking more agile and intelligent networking solutions.

“It's a very compelling value proposition,” said Harris. “When you bring the two together, we will have the size, the scope and the IP that Cisco will be fearful of.”

A new era of partnership

HPE is strengthening its commitment to its partners, recognising their crucial role in delivering outcomes to customers.

"Every business decision we make, every solution that we bring to the market, every training programme is aligned to our partners and our partnerships," said Harris.

The company aims to increase partner relevance by offering comprehensive edge, hybrid cloud, and AI solutions, empowering partners to address evolving customer needs.

To this point HPE announced that it is partnering with Tarsus Distribution, one of the leading distributors in South Africa, to create a compliant, agile and affordable Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) solution.

The tech maker will provide a modern and secure private cloud infrastructure, based on HPE compute, storage, networking, and software solutions, including ransomware protection and disaster recovery capabilities from Zerto

“For several years now, local businesses have been experiencing increasing pressure on their business continuity plan infrastructure, with no end to the trend in sight,” said Gary Pickford, managing director at Tarsus.

Together with HPE we developed a new, affordable solution that addresses exactly these needs and concerns, enhancing our efforts to provide the best possible service, support, and overall solutions to the reseller channel and Small and Medium-sized Business SMB) customers in the region – at the lowest possible cost

AI for growth

HPE sees artificial intelligence (AI) as a significant growth area for both it and its partners. Harris highlighted that "Canalys predicts that the AI market opportunity for the channel will reach 160 billion by 2030."

The company aims to become the vendor of choice for partners deploying AI-based solutions. Recognising the diverse needs of customers and is developing AI offerings for those building their own AI stacks and those seeking to leverage AI to enhance existing operations.

Of course, AI comes with environmental costs, but the company is committed to sustainability and has aligned its operations with scientific-based targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

It is also empowering its customers to track and manage their carbon footprint through sustainability dashboards and responsible end-of-life product management.

A vision for the future

“I have major respect for everything that Cisco has built, but customers building new projects with no legacy infrastructure are wanting to move to something else,” Harris told Bizcommunity.

He outlined the company strategy as going beyond simply offering products and services. It wants to be a trusted partner, providing expertise, innovation, and sustainable solutions that enable businesses to thrive in an increasingly complex technological landscape.

With a focus on hybrid cloud, AI, and edge computing, HPE is well-positioned to address the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.

Cisco declined to respond.

About Lindsey Schutters

Lindsey is the editor for ICT, Construction&Engineering and Energy&Mining at Bizcommunity
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