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At
Interop New York HP announced an expansion of its product portfolio for the
FlexNetwork architecture it first unveiled at Interop Las Vegas in May. The new
products are designed to solidify HP’s strategy to create a two-tiered,
next-generation converged network that it’s pitting against competitors such as
Cisco Systems.

The
new products stretch across the entire breadth of the FlexNetwork portfolio –
from FlexFabric (data center) to FlexCampus to FlexBranch to the mobile space
with new mobility-related features in the latest version of Intelligent
Management Center (IMC). The
FlexNetwork products were designed to provide enterprises with simpler network
infrastructure that’s scalable and flexible. HP expects these products to
provide the channel with big opportunities.

“In
the data center, a lot of the traffic that’s normally gone in a three-tier
architecture really needs to go across servers,” said Bethany Mayer, senior
vice president and general manager of HP Networking. Mayer was recently
appointed to head up HP’s networking efforts. The network, which she says has
remained fairly static for the last 20 years, is being put under extra pressure
with rich multimedia, video, mobile and cloud applications. HP’s FlexNetwork
proposes a two-tier network architecture instead of the traditional three-tier
architecture, and Mayer said the HP way provides increased performance and a
simpler-to-manage network.

In
the data center, HP is making the HP 5900 top-of-rack switch and an updated HP
12500 data center core switch available. The 5900 has 48 10GbE ports and four
40GbE uplink ports. It provides both Layer 2 and Layer 3 capabilities.

“It
is IPv6-enabled and it supports several capabilities in the data center like
moving traffic from server to server versus up and down. If you compare it to
the Nexus 3000, it’s 300 percent higher in performance and scalability,” Mayer
said, taking a shot at rival Cisco’s lineup.

The
12500 core switch was designed to be a large logical core switch with very high
density. It eliminates the aggregation layer to remove the middle layer in a
three-tier network, providing sub-50ms resiliency, 100 percent greater network
bandwidth over three-tier architectures, and 500 times faster reconvergence,
Mayer said. It’s also IPv6-enabled.

For
campus environments, the new HP 3800 stackable switches were designed to have
3ms latency through campus applications that require less jitter (such as video
and voice). HP again compared its product directly to Cisco (in this case the
3750), noting a 450 percent increase in stacking throughput, 76 percent lower
latency, and  122 percent higher 10GbE
density. The switches are also outfitted with PoE+.

HP
announced new zl Service Modules for the branch that came about through its
partnerships with VMware and Citrix. The modules help speed the service
delivery of applications to branch offices. According to HP, it also provides a
21 percent cost savings.

“What
we’ve developed is two modules that allow you to put virtualized applications
in the switch. So we support VMware and we support Citrix Xen,” Mayer said.

Finally,
HP is tackling mobile security in the latest version of its single pane of
glass management software. IMC 5.1
extends the previously available network access control capabilities to mobile
devices. IMC 5.1 will launch in
the first half of 2012.

On
top of all of the new products, HP also announced new migration services to
help customers move from IPv4 to IPv6. All of the products HP announced at
Interop are IPv6-enabled, and one of the challenges that lies ahead is
providing a migration path for customers.

“All
of this is built on the momentum that we’ve achieved over the last two years.
HP Networking has grown very dramatically over the last two years,” Mayer said.

Channel
partners should see this as an extension of the FlexNetwork announcement made
at Interop in the spring. HP expects plenty of opportunities for its channel
partners, and the main go-to-market strategy will be through the channel. The
new FlexNetwork products give partners additional credibility with customers
and shows they have the tools to build the right solution for their future
networking needs, said KashShaikh, director of marketing for HP Networking.

One
of the big selling points for customers is that HP’s data center strategy is
based on a standards-based open architecture approach, Shaikh said. FlexNetwork
was designed to be evolutionary instead of revolutionary, giving customers the
ability to migrate their existing networks to this new architecture piece by
piece instead of having to do a complete rip-and-replace.

“These
kinds of technologies can really enable the traffic patterns that we see in the
marketplace as well as how we can simplify customers’ infrastructure,” Shaikh
said.