HP Bulks Up Campus Network Portfolio for Mobile, SDN

At Interop, the company intros the OpenFlow-enabled 5400R zl2 v3 switches, which include multi-gigabit ports for greater flexibility and performance.

mobile device

Hewlett-Packard is introducing new campus networking switches that officials say will give organizations the tools they need to deal with the network demands created by an increasingly mobile business environment.

Unveiled April 27 at the Interop 2015 show in Las Vegas, HP's 5400R zl2 v3 series—which will compete with rival Cisco Systems' midrange Catalyst 4500 switches—will run on the latest proprietary network processor from HP and leverage new and enhanced software to improve network monitoring, security and application performance.

The new switches come as such trends as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and the Internet of things (IoT) drive up the number of mobile devices that are connecting to the network and fuel the demand for greater network performance and improved user experiences.

According to HP officials, the 5400R zl2 v3 modules are powered by the sixth generation of HP's Networking ASIC that is designed for software-defined networking (SDN) environments. The switches deliver more than four times the performance and three times lower latency of competitive hardware, include a 2-terabit-per-second backplane for better bandwidth and performance, support the OpenFlow SDN protocol and process as much as 24 times more flows than competing systems.

The OpenFlow support and 10 parallel Advanced Packet Processor engines offer greater scalability and flexibility, two attributes needed to support SDN applications. In addition, HP's Smart Rate multi-gigabit ports—from 1 Gigabit Ethernet to 2.5GbE, 5GbE and 10GbE—can handle new wireless access points for high-speed 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless networks. In addition, the multi-gigabit ports support Power-over-Ethernet+, enabling organizations to protect the investments they've made in their existing cabling systems by not forcing them to tear out those systems to accommodate the switches.

The 5400R zl2 v3 modules will be available May 1, with prices ranging from $3,299 to $6,799.

HP also is offering new and enhanced network apps through its SDN apps store, which launched last year. New to the store is HP's Network Visualizer, which is designed to give IT administrators greater visibility into their networks, enabling them to better monitor the flow of traffic and investigate problems. The app, which will be available in June, will enable organizations to identify user complaints through the user's experience rather than having to figure out a physical location or IP address, which will mean faster diagnosis and repair and will reduce the need for other overlay appliances or probes, HP officials said.

The tech vendor also is upgrading two other SDN applications, including the Network Protector app, which helps secure BYOD environments by offering dynamic and automated threat protection at the edge of the network. The app now includes Intrusion Prevention System as a service and consistent policies across wired and wireless networks.

In addition, HP's Network Optimizer SDN application—for automated provision of network policies and quality-of-service—now includes media path optimization and dynamic traffic periodization based on either the user or device. Through open API integration, other business applications will be able to take advantage of the Network Optimizer app, officials said.

HP also is enabling its MyRoom online Web conferencing solution to be used with wearable devices through its new Visual Remote Guidance (VRG) technology. VRG, which will be available in July, offers a secure collaboration cloud service.