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New HP Products Draw From 3Com Acquisition

HP is introducing three new products and one new service as it battles Cisco Systems in the network and security markets. The products offer network security in virtual or physical environments, decrypt SSL traffic to screen for trouble, deliver intrusion prevention in a blade format, and block user access to malicious Web sites. Each of the offerings build on technology from 3Com, for which HP paid $2.7 billion in 2009. The new products include the vController, which inspects network traffic between virtual and physical servers or between multiple virtual servers. The traffic is routed through a Tipping Point intrusion prevention system (IPS) device for inspection. Also, a new IPS appliance is now available as a blade, and works with a Tipping Point A 7500 switch. 3Com acquired Tipping Point before 3Com itself was bought.

One analyst says the product rollouts demonstrate that HP needed 3Com more than 3Com needed HP. "Fundamentally HP needs 3Com so HP can remain relevant in the data center war," says Andre Kindness, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. The individual products HP is announcing are similar to those from other vendors such as IBM, McAfee and Websense. "However, none of current security vendors offer the breadth of integrated features, products, or solutions that HP is offering," he says. Kindness also notes that the 3Com switches, now sold as HP products, outperformed the ProCurve line of switches HP was selling prior to the acquisition.

In addition to the vController, HP is also announcing a Tipping Point SSL appliance that can decrypt network traffic and scan it for malicious payloads. If the traffic is okay, the appliance re-encrypts the data, if needed, and sends it on its way. HP also plans to offer a new service called the Reputation Digital Vaccine, or RepDV, which monitors networks for malicious content, such as botnet or Trojan activity, and blocks an enterprise network's access to a site. The service is updated every two hours to provide the most up-to-date assessment of threats. If a site that is normally trustworthy is suddenly compromised, even if only for a short time, the RepDV service will block it but then restore a connection once the problem is fixed.

Also this week, HP introduced a new Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology, which complements the traditional Fibre Channel and iSCSI standards for connecting servers and storage on a network. Pricing information for the new offerings was not available.

The HP announcements come on the heels of a June 10 report from Gartner that puts HP and networking industry leader Cisco Systems alone in the vaunted upper right quadrant of the firm's "Magic Quadrant" for the enterprise LAN  market, which gauges the competitiveness of companies in  a particular space.