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HP unveils unified network architecture

World's biggest IT firm targets Cisco with new FlexNetwork Architecture solutions

HP unveils unified network architecture
HP has released FlexNetwork Architecture solutions, designed to give organisations consistent network protocols and standards across data centre, campus and branch networks.

Hardware and IT services provider Hewlett-Packard has unveiled FlexNetwork, a unified network architecture that gives organisations consistent network protocols and standards across the data centre, campus and branch networks.

According to the US vendor, FlexNetwork increases the flexibility of IT infrastructure by allowing customers to implement solutions based on modular building blocks and open standards.

This, HP claims, lets enterprises focus on innovation and avoid vendor lock-in, most notably Cisco.

"To ensure success and a competitive advantage, enterprises need to shift resources from maintenance of complex legacy networks to innovation,"
commented Marius Haas, SVP and general manager, HP Networking.

"With the FlexNetwork architecture, we deliver standards-based solutions that allow clients to bring existing network investments forward, reducing total cost of ownership today while preparing organisations to embrace the future."

The open standards approach touted by FlexNetwork is in heavy contrast to that of network market leader Cisco, HP says. According to HP, Cisco's approach encourages organisations to only purchase networking infrastructure from that vendor, leading to lock-in, lack of innovation and a higher total cost of ownership.

FlexNetwork forms the networking piece of HP's ongoing Converged Infrastructure strategy, which promotes shared, virtual pools of enterprise IT infrastructure.

HP has already unveiled a set of new solutions based on the FlexNetwork architecture. These include the A 10500 switch, aimed at the campus segment of the market, which provides three microsecond latency, 128 wire-speed 10GbE ports. Also targeting the campus market are the new line cards for the E5400 and E8200 switches, which HP claims deliver 600% higher throughput than their Cisco equivalents.

Other solutions announced alongside FlexNetwork were HP Intelligent Manager Centre, a unified network management application that supports more than 35 third party vendors, and HP Tipping Point S6100N IPS, a security appliance that protects physical, virtual and cloud-based network environments.

The solutions will go on sale later in 2011.

HP has become a major player in the networking segment since its acquisition of US vendor 3Com in 2009. HP says that since 3Com was integrated into the business, it has increased its share in the networking market from 8% to 13%.

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