RealTime IT News

ProCurve Looks For its Voice

Hewlett-Packard is hoping to leverage its multi-platform strategy in a bid to attract more customers to its ProCurve family of products.

With that in mind, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker released new hardware, software and services to support its AdaptiveEDGE architecture and run as a direct and less expensive option to Cisco . The offerings are targeted at data center operators that might be either expanding or replacing mobile, multi-service networks running on all platforms including Linux, Unix, Macintosh, and older Microsoft systems like Windows 98 and Windows 95.

HP is also expected to roll out a suite of enterprise software designed to integrate with the outfit's OpenView management platform.

Some of the hardware won't be available until July, but three new software packages -- ProCurve Access Control Security, Mobility Infrastructure and IP Telephony Solutions -- are ready today and come with implementation guides and core products, services and support. HP is also rolling out a new Service Advantage program later this year for a group of resellers dubbed "Elite" to help plan, deploy, manage and transition customer networks.

"We have the hardware and the network management and telephony software and what we are doing is tying it all together," Darla Sommerville, HP ProCurve Vice President, told internetnews.com.

The ProCurve division, which is known for its contracts with breakfast cereal maker General Mills, the organizers of the Boston Marathon, 7-11 convenience stores and Frontier Airlines, is also going through a slight branding change. The company is now identifying the division as "ProCurve Networking by HP," Sommerville said. The idea is to bring "an awareness in that category," but Sommerville declined to speculate if HP would leverage the brand as a licensable business model.

The company maintains that ProCurve as a brand will continue to support wired and wireless enterprise networking products and services including Ethernet switches, routing switches and network management applications.

On the hardware end of the announcements, HP is handcrafting a half-dozen switches and smart antennas as well as managing modules. Due out in the July timeframe, the series includes HP's new ProCurve Manager and HP ProCurve Manager Plus 1.5 network management hardware; and free software updates for HP's ProCurve Secure Access 700wl series as well as its HP ProCurve Routing Switch 9300m series.

Working with companies like Alcatel and 3Com, HP launched its ProCurve Service Advantage program. An extension of its HP PartnerONE program, the agreement is a choice of ProCurve branded services, an Elite partner's services or a combination of both. The Service Advantage program will start rolling out later this year. HP said its ProCurve program will provide dedicated engineers to support the Service Advantage program and will bounce off HP Services' in multi-vendor networks.

"This is new in that it helps customer differentiate between us and Cisco," Andre Kindness, HP ProCurve product manager, told internetnews.com.

Not all of the improvements to ProCurve have been organic. Last week, HP acquired Riverstone Networks' XGS technology platform and associated software licenses for $28 million. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Riverstone will retain the rights to the operating system, but the technology will be developed further under HP's ProCurve Networking Business umbrella. HP said it plans to use the technology to develop the next round of hardware to complement its Adaptive EDGE Architecture.