ProCurve switches work well for smaller (but growing) businesses
ProCurve 1800, 2810 models stuff a lot of management into small packages for managed-switch newbiesFollow @infoworld
Every organization has key growth points: earning the first dollar, hiring the first employee, moving from an unmanaged network switch to a managed device. Business consultants offer help with the first two, and HP’s ProCurve Networking wants to help with the third, using its 1800-series managed switches.
I looked at two models of the ProCurve 1800 switch line, the 8G and 24G, as well as the larger ProCurve 2810-24G. Each goes a long way toward meeting the goal of substantial management capability in an easy-to-use package.
The 1800-8G and 1800-24G are identical in most respects, differing only in physical size, power cable, and number/type of ports. The 24G has two “multiple personality” ports that can be either 10/100/1000 twisted pair or mini-GBIC. Also, the 1800-24G and 2810-24G both have fans (more on that later).
Configuring the 1800s begins by connecting a computer, typing the device default address into the browser, and telling the switch where it now lives. The Web interface is laid out simply, with navigation across broad topics in a pane on the left, and drill-down information in a larger pane to the right. I was able to walk through basic configuration details quickly by running down the navigation pane and watching the details unfold.
The switches’ management capabilities are quite solid for a product aimed at the “new to managed switches” market. Each of the ports have basic monitoring and statistical breakdowns. Neighboring switches and connection details are sorted out through LLDP (Link-Layer Discovery Protocol). The health reporting continues with SNMP capabilities and a switch-hosted PING test for downstream connectivity checks.
Each port can do rate-limiting from 2,000 to 32,000 packets per second. Here, I have a tiny quibble that is difficult to resolve in SMB-style products such as these: Less-sophisticated network users (and managers) moving up in infrastructure functionality are used to thinking of network speed in terms of bits rather than packets. A conversion table would be useful.
VLANs can be set up on any or all ports (by default, all ports are part of VLAN 1), and trunking is available using both static and LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) methods. Each of these capabilities begins to get into more sophisticated network control, and the documentation tries to walk a fine line between leaving users confused and becoming a “For Dummies” guide. The online documentation provides basic information on what a VLAN or a trunk might do, but if an 1800 switch is going into an organization that is still building its networking expertise, it really should be accompanied by a good book on data networking basics.