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HP Tightens Up ProCurve Story

As Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) moves into the post-Fiorina era, the company this week provided an insight into what its future network strategy will look like (see HP ProCurve Expands Security).

Set against the backdrop of Fiorinas departure there has been plenty of speculation that parts of the HP empire could be spun off, namely its PC business. However, the company scotched these rumors by merging its PC operation with its printing business (see HP Plots New Course).

HP is taking a decidedly different approach with its ProCurve switching product family, for whatever reason. At grass-roots level, the firm is taking a leaf from its archrival Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) by consolidating security features around its flagship switch product. Two years ago HP unveiled its 700 Series of 2U secure access appliances designed to sit in front of a switch and control user authentication and security policies.

However, HP told NDCF that the 700’s core technology has now been “squished down” into a blade that fits onto the firm’s 5300xl switch. Cisco recently undertook a similar move by developing a specialized security blade for its Catalyst 6500 family of switches (see Cisco Sets Out Security Strategy).

One of the major challenges for data center managers is dealing with a multitude of security appliances, so both firms are looking to exploit a "less is more" strategy. “The hope is that we can get that [technology] into as many products that need it on the intelligent edge of the network,” says Amol Mitra, HP’s worldwide ProCurve product marketing manager.

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