Cisco and IBM are expanding a cooperative support offering from the US to 46 other markets.

Through the offering, called Managed Maintenance Solutions (MMS) for Cisco Products, enterprises that use IBM as a systems integrator can get Cisco technical support by calling IBM.

It is designed to simplify IT administrators' jobs and prevent them from having to choose between turning to Cisco or IBM for help, said Cisco spokeswoman Mandy Knotts. Cisco has a worldwide technical support organisation but is not a systems integrator.

The companies began working together on support three years ago as part of the Cisco Global Services Alliance, Knotts said. Over time they developed the MMS offering, which so far has been available only in the US, Knotts said. It is now being expanded to markets in Europe and Asia, including the UK, France, Germany, China, Australia, South Korea and India, as well as Canada.

Customers with MMS can make all their calls for Cisco technical support through the IBM Technical Support Centre, which can provide network specialists trained by Cisco. The service also includes escalation of issues to Cisco Technical Assistance, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, plus operating system updates and hardware replacement, according to Cisco.