The new gear is aimed at addressing the growth of virtualization, 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 center, a high growth segment of switching where HP has been lagging behind competitors.
BACKGROUND: 5 priorities for HP in data center switching
HP's product splash falls under the company's FlexNetwork architecture, unveiled in May. FlexNetwork attempts to unify enterprise data center, campus and branch networks under a common and consistent operating environment. It's viewed as an alternative to Cisco's Borderless Networks scheme, yet also includes data center networking, which Borderless Networks does not.
And data center 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 center network. The 5900 supports the IEEE's Data Center 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.