In Fight for the Future Network can HP, Cisco Compare Apples to Apples?

[WP_IMAGE] Ten months ago I opined about the impending changes on the way for data center networks. In a technical analysis written after briefings and demonstrations at Cisco's Building 2 in San Jose, I wrote, "For one thing, Cisco has "skin in the game" in the form of its UCS offering. For

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Ten months ago I opined about the impending changes on the way for data center networks.

In a technical analysis written after briefings and demonstrations at Cisco's Building 2 in San Jose, I wrote, "For one thing, Cisco has "skin in the game" in the form of its UCS offering. For another, the obvious benefits of server virtualization are an escaped genie that cannot be re-bottled. When combined with the ever-increasing deployment of x86 multicore systems, the two-year outlook for existing, spanning-tree-bounded networks is pretty bleak."

This week announcements made at Interop further confirmed the big networking changes that are afoot. The most significant of these was HP's announcement of new core switches and its FlexNetwork architecture. Even before Interop, Juniper's QFabric and a host hierarchy-flattening, latency-reducing offerings from Brocade, Arista and others made it clear that network managers have a lot to think about when designing the next generation of networks.

I'm working on an analysis piece on just that topic for the June 6th issue of eWEEK. For now, though I have a question in reaction to the announcements made at Interop.

HP's Dave Donatelli, EVP and GM for enterprise servers, storage and networking kicked off the FlexNetwork and new equipment announcement. During his opening remarks Mr. Donatelli alluded to, and Marius Haas (who took over the bulk of the presentation) detailed how much better the HP A10500 was when compared to the Cisco gear. In particular, much ire was aimed at the Cisco Catalyst 6500 series chassis. My question of HP, when I speak with them directly about getting some hands-on time with A10500 is, "what about the Nexus 7000?"

I understand that the Catalyst 6500 chassis is the most widely deployed switch of its class. It is the single biggest earning SKU in Cisco's history. So I can understand why it is the target of HP's presentation. I'm just wondering if a more apt comparison may be between the Nexus 7000 that the HP A10500.