HP Extends FlexNetwork For Multimedia And Cloud

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HP has extended its FlexNetwork portfolio with hardware and management tools for cloud and video

HP Networking has extended the FlexNetwork architecture it introduced last May. At Interop New York, the company announced new products for virtualisation, multimedia applications and enterprise mobility support to simplify migration to the latest Internet protocols (IP), 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) networking and virtualised branch services.

Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of HP Networking, said, “Enterprises need a simpler networking infrastructure that’s scalable and flexible to keep pace with the dynamic needs of business applications.”

She added that the change in CEO at the company will not affect the networking divisions operations.

Unified Comms And Cloud Support

The FlexNetwork additions will support adoption of video, cloud and rich multimedia applications. The new products begin with FlexFabric data centre additions: a 10 GbE HP 5900 top-of-rack switches and an updated HP 12500 switch series, which the company claims will improve server-to-server traffic performance by up to 80 percent.

The HP 5900 series halves the number of logical devices in the server access layer. They are powered by the Intelligent Resilient Framework (IRF), an HP technology that allows four HP 5900 switches to be virtualised and operated as a single switch.

HP’s FlexCampus extensions include the HP 3800 stackable switch, which can provide up to 450 percent higher performance with up to 76 percent lower latency. Support for Energy Efficient Ethernet reduces power usage by 14 percent versus competing products, HP claimed.

Also part of this broadening of the product range is a new reference architecture for campus environments to unify wired and wireless networks for mobility and to support high-bandwidth video and unified communications.

The company has also expanded the FlexBranch portfolio of virtualised service modules with VMware and Citrix products to help speed up application service delivery to branch offices and reduce costs. HP claimed that the 5400zl and 8200zl switches are the first in the industry to converge blade servers at the branch into a network infrastructure capable of hosting multiple applications and services.

The Advanced Services zl Module with VMware vSphere 5 and HP Advanced Services zl Module with Citrix XenServer platforms deliver 57 percent lower power consumption and 43 percent reduction in space versus competing products, according to HP’s measurements.

Control of mobile devices through the Intelligent Management Center 5.1 has been streamlined with the integration of mobile network access control (NAC). Mayer said that this also helps to protect the IT infrastructure from mobile threats. FlexManagement  within the centralised system covers both the virtual and the physical environments across heterogeneous networks. Up to 5,786 devices from over 150 manufacturers can be supported.

On the services front, the introduction of the IPv6 standard is a challenge for many organisations, she said, and HP Networking is providing support for customers who are transitioning. The aim is to ensure that business continuity is unaffected and the process is executed with minimum business risk.

The Bottom Line

US pricing for the various  products starts with the HP 5900 switches which should be available in early 2012 starting from $38,000 (£24,500). The HP 12500 switch with a four-chassis virtualised core will be available this autumn for free.

The HP 10500 campus core switch and HP 3800 switches are available now worldwide starting at $38,000 and $4,969 (£3,200) respectively.

Also available now are the HP zl service modules for VMware and Citrix environments. The VMware vSphere 5 module with 8GB of RAM starts at $5,299 (£3410). The Citrix XenServer module with 4GB of RAM starts at $4,499 (£2,900).

Finally, HP Intelligent Management Center 5.1 with FlexManagement is expected to be available in early 2012 with a list price of $6,995 (£4,500).

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