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Top stories for April 2010

Cisco's new Unified Computing System, Symantec's "Partner-Led Consulting Services" and Oracle updates to MySQL were just some of the most popular topics for the month.

The convergence of data center hardware and vendors' efforts to dominate that nascent market were hot topics for readers in April. Converged data center hardware is a huge issue for VARs, many of which have made names for themselves integrating diverse servers, storage and networking hardware into custom data center solutions for customers. In this battle royal, erstwhile best-partner buddies Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard have come to blows, and many VARs with ties to both companies are feeling the squeeze.

Other hot stories dealt with angst and layoffs at Symantec and the continuing saga of Oracle's digestion of Sun Microsystems.

1: New Cisco unified computing system faces tough sell

Cisco Systems updated its Unified Computing System lineup with the latest and greatest chips and components but still has to convince data center shops that its UCS will fit nicely into their existing shops. That's a tough sell. But, for companies outfitting brand new data centers, UCS might be a fruitful solution.

2: Symantec hands off consulting services to partners

Most of Symantec's consulting services business will now flow to its partners.

Symantec's move to "Partner-Led Consulting Services" kicked off with the company's new fiscal year. Qualified Symantec VARs will now sell consulting service deals and handle the financing. Most of that consulting service business had gone direct. Sources said Symantec is laying off consulting services personnel and is trimming headcount in storage management and other areas.

3: CA, Symantec lay off staff, other news

Two tech giants shrugged off indications of an economic recovery by laying off employees last month.

Both CA and Symantec Corp. launched layoffs the first week of April. CA was public about it, announcing an 8% layoff affecting 1,000 employees.

Symantec was less open. Company sources said the company cut 20% in some groups, but a spokesman would not confirm or detail the cuts.

4: HP-Cisco networking battle heats up with 3Com

Hewlett-Packard Co. didn't waste time pressing its new 3Com franchise into service to battle Cisco Systems Inc.

HP, now armed with 3Com's core networking gear, is trying to blunt Cisco's data center hardware offensive. 3Com's core products complement HP's existing ProCurve edge networking hardware.

"It's too early for me to really appreciate what this all means, but I worry that both HP and Cisco are pushing all-from-one-vendor solutions in a world that doesn't want them," said one HP-Cisco VAR.

5: Oracle updates MySQL, reassures open source VARs

Oracle updated MySQL, the popular low-end database it acquired with Sun Microsystems, reassuring some open source fans that the company really will nurture the MySQL franchise.

MySQL is "strategic" to Oracle, which will continue to develop and promote it, Edward Screven, Oracle Corp.'s chief corporate architect told attendees of the MySQL Conference & Expo.

Check out the most read stories for March 2010.

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