HP has introduced new products as part of its HP BladeSystem architecture aimed at large enterprise installations. The new products include the HP ProCurve 6120 series and an expansion of the HP ProCurve 8200 and 5400 Ethernet switch portfolio. At the same time, HP announced a firmware upgrade to HP Virtual Connect that allows users to change bandwidth on the fly in response to varying application network requirements.
The big news in the HP announcements is the increased support for virtualization in the network fabric. The 6120 blade switches for HP C-class chassis are able to support FCoE for converged networking. The standards are far enough along that HP's engineers are confident the specifications for framing and transmission—the parts implemented in chips—won't change. Once the DCB specifications are complete, HP will issue a firmware update to fully implement converged networking. Unlike rival Cisco, HP is demonstrating their belief that standards based implementations are more important than being the first to market.
The 6120's are managed through HP's Virtual Connnect management software, which allows server and network administrators to jointly manage and control the data and storage networking components of the blade system. For example, network administrators can define network port profiles that follow a virtual machine from blade to blade, and server administrators select from a menu of port profiles when provisioning a system.
The HP ProCurve 6120G/XG Blade Switch provides sixteen 1Gb downlinks, four 1Gb copper uplinks, and two 1Gb SFP uplinks along with three 10Gb uplinks and a single 10Gb cross-connect. The Layer-2 switch is aimed at customers who are in the transition between 1 gig and 10 gig infrastructure for backbone and cross-connect purposes. The HP ProCurve 6120XG Blade Switch provides sixteen 10Gb downlinks and eight 10G SFP+ uplinks (including a dual personality CX4 and SFP+ 10G uplink, and two 10Gb cross-connects). This member of the 6120 family is more squarely aimed at installations in which the transition to 10 gig is farther along, with less need for significant 1 gig legacy switching.
Both 6120 switches are intended for deployment in the HP c-Class chassis architecture. Each carries the sort of enterprise switching capabilities to be expected in a product of the class, including advanced QoS and automated provisioning functions. The ProCurve 6120XG is available from HP for $11,499.00, while the 6120G/XG is available from HP for $5,499.00.