Hewlett-Packard Co. again signaled its intention to play major league ball in networking with the introduction Monday of new management software and high-speed Ethernet equipment.
The company has better focused its resources behind its ProCurve enterprise LAN division in the past year and boosted its sales amid a mostly flat networking market, according to some industry analysts. A significant price advantage against leader Cisco Systems Inc. and other rivals has helped the unit score more sales in tough times, they said.
HP's focus with ProCurve is on simplicity, security and low overall cost of ownership, according to Amol Mitra, director of product marketing for the ProCurve Networking Business.
On Monday the ProCurve unit fleshed out its offerings for Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop and 10-Gigabit Ethernet on the corporate backbone, as well as its network management software. Gigabit Ethernet on desktops, already supported on many PCs, can allow an enterprise to change the way it handles data, according to Leanne Leon, product manager with HP. The fast connection can allow employees to use large files over the network without long delays, so the files can stay on a server, she said. That may mean greater productivity because employees don't have to wait for a copy of the file to download, and different copies of the file won't proliferate as users make changes to their downloaded copies.
The company introduced 10/100/1000M bps (bit-per-second) Ethernet stackable switches, the 24-port Switch 2824 and 48-port Switch 2848, both of which support basic IP (Internet Protocol) routing. Both also include the option of using fiber on some ports.
For its ProCurve Switch 4100gl Series chassis, HP introduced a 22-port 10/100/1000M bps module with fiber options. It also offered two new bundles: the 4160gl, an 8-slot chassis with three of the new modules, and the 4140gl, a four-slot chassis with two of the new modules. Early next year, HP will ship a new module for the ProCurve Switch 5300xl Series chassis, with 16 10/100/1000M bps ports including fiber options, Leon said.
For the ProCurve 9300 Series chassis, HP introduced a two-port 10-Gigabit Ethernet module available with single-mode fiber ports for long-range or extended-range network connections. Long-range optics can support runs as long as 10 kilometers and extended-range optics can support distances as great as 40 kilometers.
ProCurve has also enhanced its software for managing a network. Starting Nov. 1, with every managed switch it will provide the new HP ProCurve Manager software, which offers administrator features such as network status information, automatic discovery of ProCurve devices, mapping of network devices and the ability to manage devices remotely. The software can also be downloaded free.
For more management capabilities, HP unveiled HP ProCurve Manager Plus. It includes tools for enforcing business policies through different network priorities and quality of service and for assigning switch ports to virtual LANs.