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HP ProCurve Powers A Unified Switching Architecture

In our review of enterprise switches tailored to the needs of TacDoh, a fictitious, growing company that provides deep-fried food through retail outlets, we found that Hewlett-Packard built a solid product using ProCurve switches and management software.

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For the price and features, HP's network redesign hit all of our requirements. The products selected provided ample room to expand the network density, from adding more ports to migrating to 10 Gigabit Ethernet when the time comes.

HP's support for voice over IP and other real-time media is comparable with other companies' switch product support, but ProCurve has made strides in port security and management for smaller networks.

Hewlett-Packard's ProCurve switches can serve as a unified switching platform from the access layer to the core and offer the features required to manage today's dynamic networks. At the same time, HP keeps costs down and backs its products with the best warranty in the business.

As the distant No. 2 switch vendor by units or ports shipped, HP's ProCurve switch line usually gets on the short list, but more often than not, it loses to Cisco. Of course, HP also is competing against 3Com and Nortel Networks, along with other switch vendors.

HP's ProCurve switches are every bit as full-featured as similar offerings from Cisco. Missing from HP's portfolio are data center switches comparable to the Nexus 7000, although our RFI didn't require a switch with that capacity.

HP ProCurve is a distant second to Cisco in the enterprise switch market. HP garnered about 10% of the gigabit switch ports shipped, with 3Com close behind, according to a Dell'Oro Group report for the first quarter of 2008. The competition really isn't with Cisco, which carries up to 70% of the switch market. Rather, the fight is for the remaining 30% market share.

As part of our request for information, we asked vendors to supply us with a network redesign based on our company's existing network, current business needs, and future plans. We wanted it all: high speed, high reliability, high flexibility, and a low price. (Click Here for The complete RFI.)

HP's switch does it all for $89,573, excluding service and support. Included with the purchase of any ProCurve switch is a lifetime warranty on the hardware, including next-day replacement, free firmware upgrades, and free e-mail and phone support during regular business hours. Packages with 24-hour and on-site support also are available.

Our original network design took into account the way networks often grow; as new facilities are needed, infrastructure is purchased and installed. In addition, mergers and acquisitions bring their own hardware. The result was a network that contained a hodgepodge of switch models, firmware releases, and vendors.

The RFI is a chance to bring the entire organization to a single platform and build in features such as redundancy at the hardware and network layers, simplify management through a unified platform, leverage advanced traffic and network management to support real-time media, and gain additional security features.

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