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HP Strengthens Integrated Server and Switch Line

The design of IT equipment is about to dramatically change. No longer will data center servers, network switches, and storage area networks be sold autonomously. Instead, the different devices will be consolidated into integrated devices, and HP has made it clear that it wants to be a player in this market.The company announced the HP ProCuve 6120 series, which combines the companys BladeSystem server and ProCurve Ethernet switches. The new line includes a couple of models. The high-end ProCurve 6120XG, which costs $11,500, sports eight 10G uplinks and works with Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE), a standard still in development and designed to integrate Ethernet and Fibre Channel. The 6120G/XG, which is priced at $5,500, features four 10G ports and six 1G Ethernet links.

The new line is designed for next generation data centers. Rather than manage a series of autonomous systems, businesses are on the lookout for integrated systems. The change simplifies management requirements, reduces data center sprawl, and possibly lowers staffing requirements.

HPs completion in this space will likely come from Cisco. The vendor recently shipped its Unified Computing System, which consolidates data center servers, switching, and storage functions. Increasingly, Cisco is moving into computing markets that used to be controlled by HP and IBM, but the former seems to be in a good position to battle back as the market evolves. HP has been a data center market leader and has a broad suite of well established products. The vendors ProCurve line has fared well recently and seems to be gaining more support within the company, something that appeared to be missing in the past. So, the pieces are in place to develop a strong product line.

The next generation data center is just beginning to evolve. How well these new integrated devices function is unclear, so some companies may want to wait rather than jump in now. As small and medium businesses monitor developments in this market place, they will need to keep an eye on HP and its product line.