Networking

HP aims high

HP aims high

HP has rolled out an array of networking products for the enterprise campus, branch and data centre, including a switch that fills a major gap in the company’s offerings. The new gear is aimed at addressing the growth of virtualisation, multimedia applications and mobility in the workplace, and the transition to IPv6 and 10Gbps Ethernet. It includes a high-density 10G top-of-rack switch for the data centre, a high growth segment of switching where HP has been lagging behind competitors.

HP’s product splash falls under the company’s FlexNetwork architecture, unveiled in May. FlexNetwork attempts to unify enterprise data centre, campus and branch networks under a common and consistent operating environment. And data centre networking is where HP could perhaps use the biggest boost, especially in top-of-rack switching, where the company failed to show up on Dell’Oro Group’s market share radar screen for two straight quarters. Its new top-of-rack switch, the HP 5900, may change those misfortunes.

The 5900 comes in two configurations — 48 10G ports and 24-ports. The 48-port 5900 has a switching capacity of 1.28Tbps and a forwarding rate of 952.32 million packet/sec.  Latency is about 1 microsecond, HP says.

Up to four units can be logically linked together using HP’s Intelligent Resilient Framework (IRF) technology, which the company positions as a method for flattening the data centre network. The 5900 supports the IEEE’s Data Centre Bridging (DCB) standard for lossless Ethernet operations, and the Fibre Channel over Ethernet standard is a future augmentation. The 5900 also supports four 40G Ethernet uplinks.

The 24-port 5920 has a switching capacity of 480Gbps and a packet forwarding rate of 357.12 million packet/sec. It, too, can be logically linked in groups of four through IRF, and also supports DCB.

Both switches also support IPv6 routing and dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 implementations for transitioning customers to the new routing protocol. The switches are also designed to support the IETF’s TRILL specification for multipath and multihop Ethernet forwarding in the data centre, and the IEEE’s VEPA specification for offloading switching from hypervisors to physical switches in the infrastructure, HP says.

HP also enhanced its 12500 data centre core switch with new software that improves resiliency and performance. IRF has been added to the switch, which allows four of them to be combined into a single logical switch, regardless of where they are physically located, HP says. The 12500 also supports IPv6 in this new software release.

“Enterprises need a simpler networking infrastructure that’s scalable and flexible to keep pace with the dynamic needs of business applications,” said Samer Zain, Director of HP Networking, HP Middle East.

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