HP Adds Switches, Software for Network Edges and Wireless LANs

Says new InterConnect Fabric Switch line offers more resiliency, flexibility

Hewlett-Packard Co. today will announce a set of hardware and software designed to advance its network edge strategy, including two models of a new ProCurve InterConnect Fabric Switch that provide high availability, resiliency and automatic configuration features.

Also included are an upgrade of HP's ProCurve Identity Driven Manager software, which handles end-user access rights, and a new tool called Mobility Manager, for controlling Wi-Fi access points, said Darla Sommerville, vice president of the company's ProCurve unit in the Americas region. A power-over-Ethernet switch designed to simplify the deployment of wireless access points will round out the product announcements.

The InterConnect Fabric Switch 8100fl family was developed using technologies that HP purchased from Riverstone Networks Inc. in June 2004, Sommerville said. One of the two new switches has eight slots, and the other has 16. HP is also announcing seven modules that fit into their chassis. The modules offer Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet capabilities and have redundant power and other features. The switches start at $27,999, and the modules range in price from about $3,000 to $20,000.

Chuck Sears, manager of research computing at Oregon State University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, has tested and deployed one of the new switches with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet module as part of a network that includes other ProCurve devices. The 8100fl "forms the pillar of our interconnect" for scientists who are processing oceanographic data, he said.

In all, about 500 end users are using the network, according to Sears. Because of its flexibility, the new switch can help the college "adapt and repurpose based on our business needs," he said, adding that a built-in management module is a "big win" for users.

Rob Whiteley, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., said the 8100fl is an improvement over HP's existing technologies because it puts redundancy, software modularity and performance management functions in a flexible chassis.

Whiteley added that the Mobility Manager 1.0 software could be even more useful because it offers a single management console for devices on both wired and wireless networks. But because Mobility Manager isn't due to ship until December, HP "won't have much of a competitive advantage," Whiteley said. He noted that Cisco Systems Inc. is developing similar functionality using technology it acquired with Airespace Inc. last March.


HP’s ProCurve InterConnect Fabric Switch family includes the following models:

The 8108fl (below), an eight-slot chassis switch with one power supply. Starts at $27,999.

The 8116fl, which has a 16-slot chassis and dual power supplies. Starts at $38,999.

The 8108fl, an eight-slot chassis switch with one power supply.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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