Procurve goes for the core

Network switch first with lifetime warranty


HP declared its intention to fight a long war against Cisco today, when it unwrapped its 8200zl series core switch units and promise a lifetime hardware warranty on the new kit.

HP’s networking operation, Procurve has been well-established as a edge switch supplier for some time, holding a grip on second place to Cisco in the Level 2 to Level 7 switch market, though it is still shy of the leader’s market share by a good way.

But having found that some of its customers have been using its 5400 series boxes as core switches, it has decided to now pitch its hat into the core switch ring.

Having pushed the "unified network" idea for some time, it is now aiming to provide a switch that is capable of handling the new, wider need for information delivery that comes with the growing use of Web Services and Web 2.0, where the range of devices that can be connected – the services they can connect – is rapidly expanding from/to handhelds and other devices than just a "computer".

Procurve vice president and general manager, John McHugh, see the move into the core switch market as an integral part of his long-held view that the company is an integral part of an information driven world rather than a network technology company.

“IT is about the information, not the technology. Information is something you want to protect but it is also the lifeblood of every business. If you can’t make it available it can’t be used,” he said. “The Information Driven Organisation therefore demands the need for an Adaptive Network.”

First out of the traps in the 8200 line is the 8212zl, which has been designed for what McHugh described as as a very focussed role complementing an intelligent, distributed edge network architecture. It is based on the company’s ProVision ASIC technology, which provides sufficient chip density to allow cards to be constructed from just three chips. It is this technology, according to McHugh, that lies at the heart of the lifetime hardware warranty. “This should be compared with the majority of the competition, which typically offers only a 90 warranty on the hardware,” he said.

The 8212zl is being aimed at the SME sector of the enterprise core switch market which is estimated to be some 30 per cent of the overall market. Each chassis can provide a maximum of 692 Gbps switch capacity for up to 288 Gig ports and 48 10Gig ports, all in a 9U rack. It comes with comprehensive network management, as well as the ability to scale the switches out to accommodate future growth. Redundant management, fabric and power facilities are incorporated, and the system can be hot swapped if required. It has traffic monitoring offering full L2-L4 security and quality of service.

It also supports all the modules of the 5400zl edge switch, which includes the existing Wireless Edge services. This, according to McHugh, means that users get the flexibility to incorporate wireless port management at the core of the network if a low level of distribution is required or in the edge switches if a highly distributed environment is the goal.

It shares a common software code base across 8200, 5400, 3500 and 6200 systems, plus common device management and support. McHugh claimed this commonality makes networks easy to manage and support, which in the latter case includes software upgrades for the lifetime of the switch in the field.

The price for minimum configuration switches is £14,102.®


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