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HP Gears Up for Switch Price War

Hewlett-Packard Co.s (NYSE: HPQ) latest foray into the switch market looks set to spark a price war among some of the major vendors, according to Steven Schuchart, senior analyst at Current Analysis.

The hardware manufacturer today unveiled its latest ProCurve switch product, the 3400cl. At one-rack-unit high, the fixed configuration device comes with either 24 or 48 ports and two optional 10-Gigabit uplinks (see HP Launches Gigabit Switch Series).

When any new product is launched, one can expect a degree of hyperbole from the vendor. In this case, HP execs have been blathering on about how the 3400cl offers Layers 3 and 4 routing features at a Layer 2 price-point. And they may have a point, according to Schuchart.

"At the high end, HP’s edge products have mainly been modular, but not everyone needs a modular device,” he says. “It’s going to be [a question of] cost and what the users are familiar with."

HP is going after market leader Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), specifically the Catalyst 3750G-16TD, which boasts 16 ports and one 10-Gig uplink. Illustrating Schuchart’s point, the big difference between the two units is cost. The base model 24-port 3400cl is on the market for $3,759, whereas the 3750G-16TD costs $19,995.

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