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HP counters Cisco with new switches, architecture

Jim Duffy, Network World | May 9, 2011
LAS VEGAS -- At Interop this week, HP unveiled products supporting a new architecture that attempts to unify enterprise data center, campus and branch networks under a common and consistent operating environment.

By 2013, there will be 3 billion smartphones, and wireless LAN will be the preferred method of network connectivity, requiring wireless performance that is equal or superior to wired, HP says.

The company is addressing that with FlexNetwork and its new underpinnings: the A-series 10500 campus core switch, upgraded 5400zl and 8200zl switches, a new network management applications and a new intrusion prevention system (IPS).

The A10500 features 128 wire-speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 3 microsecond latency, which HP claims represents 270% higher density and 75% lower latency than Cisco's Catalyst 6500 campus core switch. For large campuses, four A10500 switches can be grouped together as a single virtual switch with 320 wire-speed 10G Ethernet ports.

The switch features up to 11Tbps of capacity and 1.9 billion packet/sec of performance.

The A10500 will support 100G Ethernet with the addition of new line cards, HP says. The company will demonstrate 40G Ethernet on the switch at Interop this week.

At the access layer of the FlexNetwork, HP refreshed its E5400 and E8200 switches, which the company claims deliver up to 90% lower latency and 600% higher throughput than Cisco's Catalyst 4500. The switches support up to 288 wire-speed Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis, and less than 3 microsecond latency.

For FlexNetwork's wireless component, HP unveiled the E-MSM460 and E-MSM466 802.11n wireless access points. HP says these products deliver wire-like performance of 15 HD video streams per access point.

For management, HP unveiled Intelligent Management Center (IMC) 5, which is designed to manage, from a single console, the entire HP networking portfolio as well as more than 2,600 network devices from 35 vendors.

IMC version 5 discovers virtual machines, virtual switches and their relationship to the physical network, HP says. And an upcoming IMC version 5.1 will add synchronization of network connectivity with HP server blades. This will automate the process of creating a server profile, and aid in establishing "one button" cloud provisioning, HP says.

Securing FlexNetwork, meanwhile, requires the new HP TippingPoint IPS S6100N appliance. It's designed as a single security appliance for physical, virtual and cloud environments, providing up to 16Gbps of deep-packet inspection, a 60% increase over prior IPS offerings from HP.

The HP A10500 campus core switch is expected to ship in the second half of 2011 with a list price starting at $38,000. IMC 5.0 is planned to be available in June with a list price of $6,995. IMC 5.1 is expected to be available by the end of the year.

The TippingPoint S6100N appliance is available now at a list price of $209,995.


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