HP Enterprise Ethernet Switch Buyer's Guide. - Page 2

With the worldwide Ethernet switch market recovering, HP is poised to take advantage with a broad, deep switching portfolio.

 By Drew Robb
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HP Campus LAN Switches

Vukson said the A5800 is a representative model for HP's lineup of campus LAN switches. He said it offers a combination of Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet port density, a high-availability architecture, and full Layer 2 and Layer 3 dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 capabilities. IRF technology and Rapid Ring Protection Protocol (RRPP) allow local or geographically distributed A5800 switches to be interconnected for higher resiliency and performance. They are also available in Power over Ethernet (PoE and non-PoE) models and 1 RU and 2 RU chassis configurations.

Branch Office Switches

In HP's branch office switch product line, the HP E5400 includes 6-slot and 12-slot chassis and a purpose-built, programmable ProVision ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) that allows the most demanding networking features, such as quality of service (QoS) and security to be implemented in a scalable fashion. It has 10/100, Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, choice of PoE+ and Non-PoE, and integrated layer 3 features.

"There are a number of variables that go into determining the best switch for a particular use case or network location," said Vukson. "Factors such as performance, intelligence, reliability and scalability need to be taken into consideration when deciding on implementation plans."

He lays out common challenges associated with deployment in various scenarios. At the campus LAN level, he said, there is often the need for a converged fabric. As these integrated collaboration applications are deployed, the presence of multiple networks creates complexity and risk.

"We are also entering a world where IT needs to support unified access across wired and wireless networks," said Vukson.

In the data center, too, businesses often encounter issues when it comes to deployment. First off is the introduction of virtualization, which dramatically increases the complexity at the server edge. But the real challenge centers around building an infrastructure that can handle a heterogeneous environment. After all, there are large applications (e.g., Oracle, SAP, even Exchange) that are not currently supported in virtual environments and may not be for a while. As well as VMware, there is Hyper-V and Xen. This makes it difficult to establish a consistent and efficient architecture.

Vukson hands out some advice to users on when to buy, what to buy and what to hang onto.

"Consider implementing new solutions when newly installed services/application challenge existing network limitations or when complexity created by legacy deployments make management impossible," he said. "When purchasing new solutions clients should focus on high performance, future proof capabilities that simplify, secure and align with business-wide IT priorities."

So should they throw out everything and bring in all new gear? Vukson suggested that users hold onto networking equipment that still performs and handles current and near-term requirements. These might be edge-networking devices that do not require a significant increase in performance or intelligence, and that are operating up to expectations.

This article was originally published on Mar 12, 2011
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