Westcon-owned Cisco distributor Comstor is to sign a distribution agreement with HP ProCurve that will bring to an end its virtual exclusivity on Cisco.
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ProCurve and Comstor confirmed exclusively to MicroScope that talks had been in progress between the two parties and a deal has now been struck.
Under the terms of the agreement Comstor will provide accredited services packages, reseller training and mentoring programmes across ProCurve's complete portfolio in a move the vendor says will spearhead its drive into the enterprise.
ProCurve currently works with Anixter, Computer 2000, Ingram Micro and Westcoast, but according to UK country manager Darryl Brick, the addition of Comstor to the line-up will enable it to approach more specialist networkers and communications dealers.
"Comstor brings us reach into segments that we're not addressing, and we bring value to them by offering their partners and customers a choice," said Brick.
Comstor European vice president and general manager, Jon Pritchard, said: "We want to be in a position to offer our reseller customers a credible and reliable alternative."
Azlan UK head Andrew Sheppard said the news was not surprising, but added he was not concerned by it.
"HP wants to position itself more into the enterprise channel," he said. "We can do that, but their existing distribution partners don't always give them the coverage they need."
However, a question mark remains over the future of Comstor's relationship with Cisco, according to industry watchers who suggested that the pressures on Cisco margins had become too severe for Comstor's comfort and lead the distributor to reduce its reliance on one vendor.
"Cisco doesn't expect to see anything like 2008's growth this year, and Comstor needs to hit its numbers," said one reseller who declined to be named.
EuroLAN managing consultant Keith Humphreys said: "This suggests that Cisco appears to be losing sway over its distributors in terms of being able to implement its portfolio."