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HP Networking emerges

ProCurve and 3COM brands to disappear

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HP has announced a new HP Networking brand, under it which it will offer an edge-to-core set of sub-brands: the A Series; E Series; V Series; and S Series products. The ProCurve and 3Com brands will go away.

In a webcast today, HP EVP and general manager for enterprise servers, storage and networking David Donatelli said that prior to the 3Com acquisition, HP offered a network edge-centric set of products. It is now in the network core, courtesy of the now-completed 3Com acquisition.

The ProCurve brand will be transitioned into the E Series. The 3Com brand will be transitioned into the A Series, except in China where the H3C brand has done very well and will be retained. There will be a single converged channel programme using the best-of-breed features of the existing 3Com and HP channel programs. Resellers with both HP and Cisco networking products on their books will not be pressured to become HP-only shops. More information will be communicated to resellers within the next couple of weeks.

Donatelli said the A Series is for large enterprises, the E series for mid-sized customers, and the V series for small and medium enterprises. The S Series is for customers with network security needs, and the TippingPoint intrusion-prevention products will be featured there.

He rammed home the point that in 2009 TippingPoint "discovered more vulnerabilities than all its competitors combined. ...[It] leads the industry in vulnerability discovery." The TippingPoint portfolio is being used to expand the HP Secure Advantage product family to deliver proactive threat protection.

Customers see single pane of glass management across the 3Com and ProCurve products and, over time, the underlying code bases will be converged as well. It was pointed out that the 3Com software was already modular and that made things easier.

The HP-Cisco competition is going to be strong. Donatelli said that HP already competes with Cisco's Nexus switch. He also asserted that the A Series 12500 product had twice the perormance of a leading competitor's product but used 50 per cent less power. What 3Com lacked was a global brand and the worldwide services capability and sales channel scope that HP brings to the table. Now 3Com products will be supported by HP's direct sales, 40,000 channel partners, HP services - the second largest services organisation worldwide, we were told - and more than 5,000 network infrastructure and voice professionals worldwide that hold more than 14,000 certifications.

The market killing ground is going to be focused on converged infrastructure, which Donatelli described as "the blueprint for the data centre of the future." He pointed out that HP was the only vendor that owned its own server, networking, and storage technologies. Everybody else has to partner for at least one of these technology groups and is therefore, he implied, limited. Despite HP owning its own technologies, customers need not fear lock-in because, it was said, HP uses open standards so customers are free to move to other suppliers' kit.

The technology ownership has limitations. For storage networking specifically, HP believed that partnership was the way to go. Partnership will also be used in the telco market, with Microsoft and Alcatel Lucent featured there.

The 3Com research and development centre in China is regarded as a key asset and will be enhanced with additional investment.

HP Fibre Channel over Ethernet technology is now in beta test and will be deliverable shortly with the intention of helping to converge Fibre Channel and Ethernet networking. This could hinder Brocade and QLogic's fabric switch business through HP, and help QLogic with its FCoE converged network adapter (CNA) business. It is possible that HP could develop its own FCoE branded technology with QLogic component technology involved.

HP said its Virtual Connect technology has been going extremely well and will continue going forward as the place for server aggregation at the edge of the network.

HP Networking will be led by SVP and general manager Marius Haas, and is part of the Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking business unit led by Donatelli.

HP now sees itself as the networking alternative to Cisco and is going to compete on the basis of having superior technology and services and a lower total cost of ownership, up to 65 per cent lower it claims. Let the marketing battle commence. ®

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