HP extends data center, campus Ethernet switches

Rollout pumps up ProCurve family, targets Cisco

HP this week unveiled enhancements to its data center and campus switching portfolio designed to increase density and tightly integrate switching with blade server systems.

HP this week unveiled enhancements to its data center and campus switching portfolio designed to increase density and tightly integrate switching with blade server systems.

The evolution of Ethernet

The products include blade switches designed to reduce cost and improve security in the data center; an 8Gbps FibreChannel Virtual Connect module and firmware upgrade intended to tune bandwidth to application requirements; and new chassis and modules for its ProCurve 5400 and 8200 Ethernet switches to provide an array of configurations depending on network need.

The extensions are intended to better align HP's data center and network products for the market and mindshare battle with Cisco. Cisco's recently shipped Unified Computing System integrates data center servers, switching, virtualization and storage access, and are viewed as a competitive assault on HP and IBM's traditional data center turf.

The campus LAN enhancements are viewed as lower cost alternatives to Cisco in that market as well.

The new HP blade switches include the 10G Ethernet ProCurve 6120XG and ProCurve 6120G/XG. The 6120XG sports eight 10G uplinks -- one 10GBASE-CX4 Ethernet or one SFP+, five SFP+ that can be either 1Gbps or 10Gbps, and two midplane crosslinks or SFP+.

The HP Procurve 6120 sports eight 10G uplinks

The 6120XG is also Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) "ready," which means it will support an upgrade to the CEE standards for the integration of Ethernet and Fibre Channel in the future. Those standards are expected for ratification in the first or second quarter of 2010.

The 6120G/XG is designed to facilitate the transition from 1G Ethernet to 10G Ethernet. It features one 10G Ethernet CX4 port for short distance data center links; two 10G Ethernet XFP ports for copper of fiber connectivity; two 1G Ethernet SFP ports; and four 1G Ethernet RJ45 ports.

In addition to aiding in the migration to 10G, the 6120G/XG supports the attachment of legacy network equipment in the data center.

The 6120XG costs $11,500; the 6120G/XG costs $5,500.

For the campus LAN, HP unveiled a half-size chassis of its 8212zl switch. The 8206zl is designed for high-density LAN access, mid-size LAN core and distribution layer applications, and data center end-of-row access and aggregation. It features six chassis slots and the same hardware and software architecture as the 8212zl. 

The 8206zl costs $12,599.

The HP Procurve 8206zi s designed for high-density LAN access

New modules for both the 8200zl and 5400zl switches include a 24-port 10/100/1000 PoE+ card, $4,199; a 20-port 10/100/1000 PoE+ board with four SFP ports, $4,199; a 24-port 10/100 PoE+ card, $2,499; and a four port 10G SFP+ module, $4,199. These products are intended to support new bandwidth intensive applications such as video while reducing cost and power consumption.

HP also unveiled a 1500 watt Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) power supply for the lines at a list price of $1,099.

The company is also offering bundled configurations of its 5400 switches. A 12-slot 5412zl with 96 Gigabit Ethernet ports -- 92 ports of PoE+ and four ports of SFP -- and two 1500w PoE+ power supplies costs $17,199. A 48-port 5406zl bundle -- 40 ports of PoE+ gigabit ports and four SFP ports -- plus one 1500w PoE+ power supply costs $8,599.

The Virtual Connect 8Gbps FibreChannel module supports 20 ports of 8Gbps uplink and downlink bandwidth. It is backward compatible and replaces a 20-port 4Gbps Fibre Channel Virtual Connect module already offered by HP. It also costs the same as the 4Gbps module -- $9,499.

The Virtual Connect firmware upgrade provides dynamic bandwidth adjustment depending on application requirements, HP says. It also supports twice the number of virtual LANs -- 128 -- per uplink set.

All products are available now. HP would not discuss product plans for data center core switches and 48-port and higher top-of-rack 10G switches, with or without support for FibreChannel-over-Ethernet; nor would it discuss product plans for a FibreChannel-over-Ethernet Virtual Connect module.

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