HP is integrating new ProCurve networking technologies with its BladeSystems platform in the latest move in its competition with Cisco in the converged data center space. Analysts have said that HP's expertise in both networking and the data center gives HP an opportunity to make inroads against such rivals as Cisco and IBM.
Hewlett-Packard is ramping up the competition with Cisco Systems,
IBM and others in the burgeoning converged data center space by
integrated its ProCurve networking technology with its BladeSystems
blade server platform.
HP engineers have been working to more closely tie the company's
substantial data center hardware offerings with its increasingly
competitive networking products. The integration of the two is a key
step in bringing solutions into the unified data center fray, according
to Matt Zanner, director of data center solutions at HP ProCurve.
"You end up with an unmatched position of strength for end-to-end data center [technologies]," Zanner said in an interview.
HP rolled out its new and enhanced offerings Sept. 16. Included in
the announcement were the ProCurve 6120 series integrated with the
BladeSystem cClass infrastructure, as well as new offerings in its
ProCurve 8200 and 5400 Ethernet switch lineup.
The ProCurve 6120XG Blade Switch is aimed at virtualized and
high-performance application environments, offering automated network
connection management and provisioning via the ProCurve Data Center
Connection Manager. It also offers users the ability to integrate
Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks, another trend within the converged
data center space.
HP's 6120G/XG Blade Switch enables IT administrators to run both Gigabit Ethernet and 10GbE networking equipment.
Zanner said the blade switches are designed to help drive down capital and operating expenses, as well as power consumption.
HP has an advantage over Cisco in the converged data center push in
that it not only has the growing networking business, but also the
established server and storage offerings, Yankee Group analyst Zeus
Kerravala said in an interview.
"Cisco has been talking about converged data centers," Kerravala
said. "HP has a real opportunity ahead of them. They have all the data
center components. They can pretty quickly ... pull it all together."
Cisco in March began expanding its reach in the data center beyond the networking gear with the announcement of its UCS (Unified Computing System)
an all-in-one offering that includes a server, networking technology,
storage and management software from itself and partners, such as EMC
and VMware. HP countered later with its BladeSystems Matrix
IBM and Dell also have made pushes into the converged data center market
of their own technologies and partnerships.
However, analysts have talked about the strides HP has made with its
ProCurve networking unit, and the benefits it promised when combined
with HP's strong server portfolio.
HP also is enabling customers using its 8200 and 5400 switches for
such workloads as unified communications or video surveillance to user
Power over Ethernet, which will help the cut power costs. In addition,
the switches will now use common architecture, security and management
tools through the portfolio.
In addition, HP enhanced its Virtual Connect offering that, combined
with the BladeSystems hardware, can reduce acquisition costs by as much
as 66 percent. The Virtual Connect solution now offers twice the Fibre
Channel bandwidth at a lower cost through the Virtual Connect 8G
20-port module, aimed at virtualized environments. The new Virtual
Connect Firmware with Virtual Connect Flex-10 enables IT administrators
to dynamically change the network connections without having to reboot,
and can support up to 128 virtual LANs.