The HP networking business division was formed in April of 2010 after its $2.7 Billion acquisition of 3Com was complete. The HP Networking group combines the technology and intellectual property assets of 3Com with those of the HP ProCurve business unit which has now all been rebranded as HP Networking.
With the addition of 3Com into the fold, HP Networking became an end-to end networking provider with assets from the edge to the core. The business unit also includes the assets of 3Com's Tipping Point division, which was well known for both its security research and hardware assets.
At a corporate level, HP Networking competes against many vendors, but the fiercest rivalry seems to be with industry leader Cisco. Prior to the 3Com acquisition, Cisco and HP had been certified partners but that partnership was terminated in February of 2010. Ever since the two have gone toe to toe in the market place. While the formal certified partner program between HP and Cisco is no more, that doesn't mean that HP doesn't collaborate with Cisco for networking gear. In October of 2011, the two vendors got together on a Fabric Extender card that fits into an HP Bladecenter server.
The core push for HP Networking over the course of the last year has been its FlexNetwork architecture, which was first announced in May of 2011. According to HP, the FlexNetwork architecture is all about embracing industry standards to help enterprises build a flexible and resilient network. The FlexNetwork includes connectivity, management and security components to build a flexible network fabric.