So it looks like the end of another era – that of 3Com – with the announcement that HP is buying what was once THE shining light of Ethernet(working) for $2.7bn.

Even if the company that the French wonderfully called “twa-com” is a Hank Marvin of its former self, given its recent success in China especially and ongoing popularity in many markets (including several countries within Europe), compared with Avaya shelling out $900m in auction for Nortel’s Enterprise division, this looks a conspicuous bargain. Bear in mind that the TippingPoint division alone is worth a considerable percentage of that sum (and would have been worth many billions had it existed at the turn of the decade) with still market-leading IPS technology – something that HP (“ash-pay” in France, to continue the theme) simply does not have – and it does makes a lot of sense for both parties. Well, HP anyway…

At the same time, it could be argued that it doesn’t solve all of HP’s requirements, as well as creating an interesting dilemma with the parent company’s ProCurve division now generating almost as much revenue as 3Com itself has of recent. And there are a lot of cross-over products to rationalise/realign. Of course, as someone who has worked with both vendors on an independent basis for too many years to wish to recall, if you want a bit of advice on this front chaps, I’m always here for you…

While also providing ProCurve specifically with a ready-made router platform, what 3Com may not bring sufficiently to the table, even with H3C, is a full compliment of fully-owned core networking product technology – agreed this is a point of argument and maybe more to do with politics than technology. So, ProCurve itself has part of the story – the 8200 series core switches are worthy products – but there is little else in the locker to sell alongside these from within. Is it reasonable to suggest, then, that – if the H3C element of 3Com is not seen as “heavyweight” enough to beat off Cisco that HP might still be in acquisition mode – someone like Force 10/Turin or even Brocade/Foundry makes enough sense in each case, without getting Extreme about this.

I’ll be tuning into the various press/analyst conversations around the subject, as well as being in the middle of a number of projects with ProCurve itself at the moment so – regardez l’espace…

P.S. Continuing the French theme – wine tip number several… With the glut of unsold wines and lots of wineries going bust in France, there are mega bargains to be had, especially if you have the ability to club together and bulk buy direct. So don’t spend stupid money in the UK on individual bottles at “regular” prices… Good excuse for a weekend across the Channel as well.