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HP Offers New Networking Hardware To Target Cisco Competition

HP is introducing several new networking switches, wireless access points and other products on Monday in a direct challenge to market leader Cisco Systems. In launching the new products, HP shared benchmarking results that showed significant improvements in capacity, performance, energy efficiency and latency over comparable Cisco switches and access points. The new products are being unveiled at Interop IT Conference and Expo 2011 in Las Vegas.

The new products are being delivered as components of what HP calls its FlexNetwork Architecture, part of its larger Converged Infrastructure strategy to develop IT assets--such as servers, storage, network and security--in a holistic fashion. But while these new products may have significant performance improvements, HP's architecture offering is still relatively nascent, says Karravella.

"They may have a product advantage over Cisco, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have an architectural advantage. If a customer decides they want a converged voice-video-data infrastructure, Cisco has that and HP doesn't," he says.

HP says the new higher-performance network equipment is necessary because current networks are close to the breaking point: They are required to handle more traffic at faster speeds and deliver more of it wirelessly, as high-bandwidth traffic such as video is increasingly in demand.

HP is also introducing the HP Tipping Point S6100N intrusion prevention system (IPS) for security, which delivers 60 percent better performance than its predecessor, says Doug Finley, security marketing manager for HP Networking. TippingPoint, a company HP acquired along with network equipment maker 3Com in 2010, includes an organization called DVLabs, a network of security professionals who discover and report software vulnerabilities ahead of others.

"The big differentiator of our solution is that customers that use our product are secured 180 days in advance of when a typical ISV or application provider would announce a vulnerability," says Finley. The IPS device, available now, carries an estimated list price of just under $210,000. Pricing for the switches and access points was not provided.

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