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HP targets Cisco dominance with core switch

HP ProCurve says continued growth means it has to compete with Cisco.

HP ProCurve has launched a core switch that it hopes will challenge Cisco's market dominance.

The 8212zl, launched on Monday, is a scalable chassis core switch platform with 692Gbps switch capacity and 10Gb Ethernet connectivity. It is also hot-swappable and has redundant management, fabric and power capabilities.

The platform is based on HP's ProVision ASICs, and it links in with ProCurve's security strategy, according to Paul Congdon, ProCurve's chief technology officer. The switch has behavioral-analysis capabilities and can tunnel suspicious traffic to threat-management devices. The switch also accepts plug-in modules, HP said.

The 8212zl is targeted at both medium and larger-sized businesses, according to Congdon. "For mid-market customers, traditionally core products are really expensive, making those customers shy away. Now they have that capability (and they) don't have to deal with the intricacies of dealing with Cisco," he said.

Congdon added that, for larger enterprises, a common configuration is to have a Cisco core with ProCurve at the edge of the network.

John McHugh, ProCurve's managing director, said, "ProCurve has got to a size where the only way to continue to add to the market is to run into our competitor (Cisco). The bulk of our competitive motion will be against that company."

McHugh said that the 8212zl comes with a lifetime warranty--and he said that a product would typically last 12 to 15 years. "This is the first high-availability core with redundant capabilities that has a lifetime warranty," he said.

He claimed that ProCurve has sold more than 100 of the products to beta customers. Customers who have so far expressed an interest in purchasing the switches include the University of Westminster and organizations in the construction and manufacturing, health-care and local government verticals. The product in its basic form costs ?14,102 (or about $28,519).

ProCurve on Monday also launched the Wireless Edge Services zl Module, which is a wireless LAN controller. Controllers manage a wireless network in terms of maintaining security policies and governing RF propagation.

The module includes a secure guest portal with guest-account administration and integrated Radius and DHCP services. Security features include an integrated stateful packet-inspection firewall and wireless-intrusion detection.

Tom Espiner reported for ZDNet UK in London.